Xbox Game Pass Is A Key Player In The Next Gen Console War

Xbox Game Pass Is A Key Player In The Next Gen Console War
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

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.)

Screenshot: Tetris Effect: Connected

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.


  • Call me a worry wart, but my main concern with Game Pass is how it could change if Xbox ends up with a significant lead this generation. If Xbox has a sales advantage and the vast majority of people are relying on Game Pass over buying games, what changes? Do we end up seeing Game Pass subscription prices go up? If so, say goodbye to your game library you’ve been paying $120 a year for, becasue you have nothing. If they decide to scale down on the amount of desirable games, you get a Playstation Plus situation, where you keep up a subscription so you don’t loose what you already have (from experience, dropping my PS Plus subscription made me realise how little interest I had in those games to begin with, they were just “free”).

    I hope I’m wrong, but from experience I learned that anytime something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

  • But is there really a war anymore? And Game Pass, yes it is great value, but it is just another all you can eat bounty of entertainment. That goes with Spotify or Apple music, Netflix, Amazon, Stan blah blah. Does anyone really have all the time in the world to consume THAT much media?!

    Dont get me wrong it is great for struggling families and the like, but its like an all you can eat buffet, there is a certain point where the amount of offer devalues the experience.

    • I swear Microsoft could cure cancer and instead of commending them you’d complain about how they just put researchers out of work.

      • Play the ball, not the man.

        Yes Game Pass IS good value, and there are many positives, but at what point is the breaking point for subscriptions for entertainment? Thats all I am saying. I am not saying it is terrible, far from. I grew up in poverty, this type of thing will be extraordinary for people in that position, especially this year.

        But beyond value, how does it change gaming in any unique way? And more importantly how do dev make their money back?!!! Does the fact that players get these games for virtually nothing change how in game ecomenies work in terms of MTX, to help devs recoup some of their costs.

        People praise Spotify and Netflix, but rarely do they think beyond they own savings, how do devs make money from the lack of full sales and how does that translate into them investing in other games?

        • So there’s 2 real things to take away in your comment.

          1. Do devs make money. Seeing as Game Pass doesn’t force any devs onto it (only first party who are owned my MS) then I would say it’s on the devs to make the decision. From most things I’ve read, Game pass gives games more exposure, just look at Rocket League and what PS Plus did for it.

          2. You’ve said how it changes gaming in anyway. It doesn’t change gaming, it changes HOW we consume the gaming. Like it or not, the digital ‘we own nothing and rent everything’ world is kinda here (and just to be clear, I’m not advocating either method, just that MS saw what was happening elsewhere and amended it for video games).

          • #1 is something I’m really curious about myself… Just how they spread the money around.

            That said I’m pretty sure someone from MS stated recently that because Game Pass was as sustainable as it is, it allowed them to fund some of their developers to make new games that otherwise may not have gotten the green light. If I remember correctly State of Decay 3 was one of the upcoming ones mentioned in that regard.

            So in a round about way, at least their own devs are seeing benefits from continued funding. That said, I’m pretty sure they’d be paying the publishers of other games also… Whether those publishers send any of that money down the line is another story.

        • For me at least, Its let me try games I would probably would not have if the only option was to buy them. I’ve bought several indie games and AAA games because I enjoyed playing them so much on game pass. Its a great way to trial games. i would not be able to do something like that without Gamepass.

  • My son absolutely loves game pass and it’s the main reason he wants an Xbox over the PlayStation. Try as I might to brain washing him into this “being a PS family”.

    Each to their own.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!