Xbox Game Pass is a killer service for Xbox yet to be matched by anything available for PlayStation users locally. As a core feature of the Xbox Series X/S, it’s hard to overlook how important it is for the longevity and appeal of the console, particularly at launch.
As has often been reported, the Xbox Series X/S does not have a particularly robust launch lineup. While there’ll be over 30 games ‘optimised for Xbox Series X‘, actual exclusives aren’t really on the menu with every game currently announced for Xbox Series X/S also releasing on Xbox One or Windows PC.
That’s where Xbox Game Pass comes in. At launch, Xbox Series X owners will have access to over 100 games via the service.
On November 10 the existing Xbox Game Pass lineup will also be joined by the entire EA Play catalogue for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. It means for $15.95 a month, Xbox Series X/S owners will already have a hearty lineup of games waiting for them when they purchase their new console.
With new Xbox Series X/S games priced between $80-$110 at launch, Xbox Game Pass has become a very attractive prospect. Many of the games ‘optimised’ for Xbox Series X/S at launch will be available through XGP like Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4. Newer launch titles like The Medium and Tetris Effect: Connected will also arrive on Xbox Game Pass on release, easing the price burden for subscribers. (Although it should be noted The Medium is currently stuck in RC limbo in Australia.)
The fact is, games are expensive. The next generation of games even more so. And in the wake of coronavirus, wallets are tighter than ever before. That’s why Xbox Game Pass has such value for the next console generation. One-off purchases of games priced at $100 is a lot to ask from consumers in 2020. It’s a fair price given the amount of work, passion and creativity that goes into creating games — but it’s a major investment for the average consumer. It’s also $30 more than what they’re used to paying for games, and price hikes are frequently met with opposition.
Now compare this monetary commitment with Xbox Game Pass.
Halo Infinite is set to hit Xbox Game Pass at launch. As are all games developed by Xbox Game Studios (This extends to titles like Psychonauts 2 and could logically encompass Bethesda and Arkane’s upcoming titles.) Rather than purchasing each of these games for $100 at launch, subscribers to XPG will only have to pay $15.95 a month (around $190 a year) to access every new Xbox-developed game when it releases. They’ll also get a range of EA games, and monthly Xbox One and 360 games for that price.
While the PS5 does offer a similar service via PlayStation Plus Collection (which includes around 20 classic PlayStation 4 hits for the price of a PlayStation Plus subscription), the limited range available doesn’t measure up to Xbox Game Pass, and won’t until the lineup grows significantly. (At this stage, the service’s endgame is unclear.) With plans for PlayStation Now in Australia still up in the air, the PS5 doesn’t currently have a worthy local equivalent on a price and functionality basis.
The important thing is Xbox Game Pass is a service that gets it. It understands the price burden of modern gaming. It understands how gamers interact with modern media, and how to make gaming more accessible for everyone. Even if you have no plans to subscribe or you prefer physical games, it’s hard to deny how good the service is for gamers as a whole. Not everyone can afford buying games outright, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to play.
In 2020, Xbox Game Pass is a real blessing. Its power and potential in the modern era of gaming shouldn’t be underestimated.