It’s not a coincidence that PlayStation Now began enabling players to download PS4 and PS2 games last week. Microsoft’s competing Game Pass service has turned into a marquee feature that makes the Xbox One look like a great deal. And next week, Microsoft is adding Forza Horizon 4 to cement Xbox Game Pass as a must-have subscription.
I haven’t finalized my Forza Horizon 4 review, but I am enjoying my time with it. And while Microsoft still lags behind Sony and Nintendo when it comes to first-party firepower, the Xbox company is leveraging what it has to make its platform as appealing as possible.
For $10 per month, Game Pass subscribers get a library of more than 100 games including every major first-party Microsoft release. So far through 2018, the company has also stuck to its promise to launch every one of its first-party games at retail and on Game Pass at the same time.
That means you can buy a new Xbox One X today, spend $10 more, and download Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Quantum Break, and Sea of Thieves as part of this Netflix-of-games service. And Microsoft is working to bring more to Game Pass.
On October 1 — a day before Forza debuts — Game Pass is getting Wolfenstein: The New Order, Metro 2033: Redux, and SplitSecond.
Why Game Pass is better than ever
OK. The nature of Game Pass means it will continually get better over time as Microsoft releases more games. Sea of Thieves isn’t going to drop off because it is adding Forza Horizon 4. The library should just continue to grow.
But when I say that I think Game Pass is better than ever, what I mean is that I think I could recommend it to just about anyone at this point.
The third-party offerings on Game Pass are varied enough that most people will find plenty of options to justify the $10-per-month price. In addition to the new October games, Fallout 4, Hitman, and Rocket League are all available.
But really, it’s Forza Horizon 4 that pushes the service over the edge for me. A driving game like this is something that I think most people wouldn’t want to spend $60 on. And I get that. This game is great — it’s the best Forza Horizon yet. I can’t stop playing it. But that upfront price is a bit much for people who aren’t obsessed with cars or Forza.
Even people who may end up loving Forza Horizon 4 may not end up feeling great about dropping $60 in the end.
But for $10, Forza Horizon 4 is something I don’t think you can miss. That’s too good of a price. That’s especially true because you can start playing the same time as everyone else and you also get access to huge treasure trove of other Xbox One games.
Microsoft sees the power of adding games like Forza Horizon 4 to Game Pass. That’s why it is doing this. My hope is that translates into the publisher putting the kinds of investment into its first-party games that we see from Sony and Nintendo.