Microsoft wants to give people who buy an Xbox One a way to have a massive instant library of games at a reasonable price, and that has led the company to introduce a new subscription service.
Xbox Game Pass is a $10 per-month premium membership for Xbox One that offers unlimited access to more than 100 games. This is a separate subscription from Xbox Live Gold, and it’s all about an on-demand method for fleshing out your gaming library with Xbox One and backward-compatible Xbox 360 games. For Microsoft, this is its latest move to stay competitive in the console space against Sony’s PlayStation 4, which has outsold the Xbox One this generation. Game Pass also makes sense as part of Microsoft’s Play Anywhere program that has seen more of the company’s first-party console games come to PC.
Game Pass launches in the spring.
“At Xbox, we put gamers at the center of everything we do and remain committed to giving you the freedom to play the games you want, with the friends you want, on the devices you want,” Microsoft Xbox boss Phil Spencer wrote in a blog post. “Today, we’re continuing our commitment to give you more options to diversify and expand your library of games with Xbox Game Pass, a new gaming subscription service coming later this spring. Xbox Game Pass gives you unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and backward compatible Xbox 360 games — all for $9.99 per month.”
Hit games like Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, and SoulCalibur II are part of this new service, so subscribers can expect a healthy mix of first-party Microsoft games and third-party releases. And that makes this one of the best ways for players to upgrade to an Xbox One (or add the platform to their collection) and have an affordable way to catch up with some of the games they might’ve missed.
At the same time, Microsoft may be pushing people toward a sort of subscription-service fatigue. Many people already subscribe to Xbox Live Gold, PlayStation Plus, EA Access, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more — and that doesn’t even get into physical services like Blue Apron or Loot Crate.
Regardless of that fatigue, Game Pass could produce significant revenue for Microsoft, and it may force Sony and even Nintendo to respond with a similar option.