Microsoft has announced Xbox Game Pass that gives you access to a catalog of “more than 100 games” for a fixed monthly fee. The subscription service works on Xbox One and will launch this spring for $10 dollars per month.
Halo 5, LEGO and others
Sony offers subscription service PlayStation Now that has yet to come to most regions of the world. PlayStation Now is a streaming service that lets you stream a game like you would stream a movie from Netflix. Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass is different. You have to download games.
As such it is not a streaming service but instead a subscription service that gives you access to a catalog of downloadable games for a monthly fee. These games can be downloaded onto your Xbox One console. The library will include “more than 100 games” at launch, says Microsoft. The company will continuously add new titles and remove others.
Why not streaming that would make it possible to stream Xbox games onto a range of devices such as Smart TVs, Apple TV, Android TV, smartphones, tablets, and PCs?
- ”Based on fan feedback, streaming/connectivity issues were identified as a major pain point for competing game subscription services. That’s why games on Xbox Game Pass will be downloaded to your Xbox One, providing fans with a native, full-fidelity gaming experience and the ability to play downloaded games offline for up to 30 days,” Microsoft wrote.
Microsoft highlights titles such as ‘Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2’, ‘SoulCalibur II’, and ‘NBA 2K16’. Most major studios are on board but EA is missing from the list. The service will work exclusively on Xbox One.
Coming to 27 markets in spring
Xbox Game Pass will launch in “at least 27 Xbox markets at launch”, including the US and parts of Europe. In the US, it will cost you $10 dollars per month. A subscription plan also gives you 20% discounts on the purchase of Xbox One games and 10% discounts on game add-ons.
What happens if a game is removed from the catalog while you are playing? You will no longer have access but your game progress and achievements will be saved, allowing you to continue play when you purchase the game (with 20% discount).
Members of the Xbox Insider program will gain access to a beta version of the service ahead of the official launch “later this spring”. You can learn more about Xbox Game Pass here.
Xbox Game Pass – in Microsoft’s own words
What is Xbox Game Pass and how does it work? At Xbox, we believe in offering new ways to give you the best value to play a collection of the greatest games. For one low monthly price, Xbox Game Pass gives you unlimited access to over 100 great games – including popular backward compatible Xbox 360 and blockbuster Xbox One titles. Xbox Game Pass will add games to (and sometimes remove games from) its catalog every month, which means you can always find something new and exciting to play. Download and experience games in their full fidelity from top industry publishers and play offline for up to 30 days. Xbox Game Pass is truly your ticket to endless play.
Do you need to have an Xbox Live Gold membership to access Xbox Game Pass? No, you do not need to have an Xbox Live Gold membership to access Xbox Game Pass. As with all Xbox Live titles, you will need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play multiplayer in Xbox Game Pass titles.
What games will be available on Xbox Game Pass when it launches? We’re working closely with top industry publishing partners to bring a robust list of titles at launch. We expect to have over 100 games from the most popular genres including action, adventure, shooters, puzzlers, strategy, RPG, and more with new titles added each month.
Will Xbox Game Pass be available where I live at launch? Xbox Game Pass will be available in at least 27 Xbox markets at launch, quickly growing to as many new markets as catalog availability permits.
Are games on Xbox Game Pass streamed directly or will they be downloaded to my Xbox One? Based on fan feedback, streaming/connectivity issues were identified as a major pain point for competing game subscription services. That’s why games on Xbox Game Pass will be downloaded to your Xbox One, providing fans with a native, full-fidelity gaming experience and the ability to play downloaded games offline for up to 30 days.
Is there a limit to how many games I can download to my account at one time? No – so get your storage ready! Gamers love to play, which is why Xbox Game Pass gives you unlimited access to over 100 backward compatible Xbox 360 and Xbox One games while they are in the active catalog. There is no limit to the number of games you can download from Xbox Game Pass, other than the hard drive capacity, which you can manage or upgrade at Xbox.com.
Once I download a game with Xbox Game Pass, do I own it? No, the Xbox Game Pass catalog will update with new games being added every month. You need an active Xbox Game Pass subscription to play games. If you love a game currently in the catalog and want to own it, you can buy it and instantly save 20 percent off the price of the base game with your Xbox Game Pass membership, plus get 10 percent off any related game add-ons and consumables while the game is still in the Xbox Game Pass catalog.
What happens if my subscription expires or I cancel? If your subscription expires or is cancelled, any games downloaded through Xbox Game Pass will no longer be available. However, progress and achievements will remain attached to your account. All games that you have purchased from Xbox/Xbox Store will remain in your games library until you manually remove them.
Will Xbox Game Pass be available on Xbox 360? Xbox Game Pass will only be available on Xbox One. While some Xbox 360 backwards compatible games will be included in Xbox Game Pass, those titles will not be available on the Xbox 360 console via your subscription..