Yesterday Microsoft announced their brand new Netflix like subscription service called Xbox Game Pass for the Xbox One and I can tell you right now, this is going to be a major success. As the industry moves ever closer towards a digital future, Microsoft have put themselves right at the cutting edge of how we will be playing games in the coming years on both consoles and maybe on PC too. A future where forking out €70 plus on a game may be a thing of the past and a future where your local GameStop may have transformed into your local coffee shop or McDonalds. We may be about to witness the dawn of a pure digital age in gaming on consoles.
Xbox Game Pass will launch later this Spring, the service will cost €10 a month when it finally gets rolled out, some lucky Preview members (myself included) have already got access to the alpha form of it. Xbox Game Pass will offer up to 100 games for you to enjoy for your subscription. These include the likes Halo 5, NBA 2K 16 and PayDay 2. Not only will you have some of the biggest Xbox One games thrown in there but you will also be treated to some 360 titles that get the Backwards Compatibility treatment also. Microsoft have stated that new games will be added every month but also that some titles will also be removed, which kinda sucks.
Signing up to the new service will also get you a 20% discount on purchases that you make, like I said, games will be removed so been able to buy a personal favourite of yours at a decent discount if it gets taking away is good news too. Of course any progress and achievements that you have acquired will be carried over if you decide to buy.
Its important to point out to, that unlike the PS Now service for the PS4, you will be downloading the games onto your machine not streaming them from the Internet. This is good news if you have terrible Internet speeds or low capping from your provider. The other benefit of been able to download games directly to your hard drive is that you can also play them offline whenever you want. The other major advantage it has over PS Now is pricing. PS Now offers a range of pricing options on the PS4 but the blanket €10 cost of Xbox Game Pass and coupled with the fact that you can play current gen games along side older 360 titles gives it a massive edge for me. You can only play a selection of about 300 titles on PS Now, none of which are PS4 games.
Xbox Game Pass will also be a standalone service, what I mean here is that it will not effect Games or Deals With Gold and it does not require you to be Gold subscription holder on Xbox to avail of it, although you will still need a Gold account to play any games online. The games you download can also be shared with any other account that may be on your machine.
Of course this news has not been welcomed by everyone, some people have a lot to lose if the games industry becomes more and more digital. After the announcement was made yesterday, the share price for GameStop collapsed. You see, a good chunk of GameStop's business comes from the second hand market, you go to buy a new game and trade in some old ones in part exchange, GameStop, as everyone knows, offers shockingly bad value when it comes to your trade in titles, but has the balls to sell the same second hand game for 10 times what they'd offered you for it.
If Xbox Game Pass really takes off and Sony tweak their PS Now service to make it more user friendly, then more and more of us gamers are going to go digital. Why would you spend €30 or €40 on a second hand title at GameStop if you can pay €10 a month and have access to hundreds of titles. I haven't bought an actual retail copy of a game in nearly two years and I have no intention of anytime soon, I download everything these days. Also please remember, games companies make no money from the second hand market, subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, EA Access and the entire digital platforms on both PSN and Xbox Live and indeed on PC with Steam, suit publishers and dev teams down to the ground, there is no middle man, they have direct contact with their fans.
I truly believe that this is the beginning of the end for your high street game store. I'm already signed up to EA Access and I have nothing but praise for what it offers, it is a cracking service, I wrote a article on it HERE if you want to check it out. I think Xbox Game Pass will be even bigger and better again. Of course, a lot will depend what mix of games we get and more importantly, if we will see brand new AAA titles launch on it in the months and years ahead. For now at least, it looks as though the Xbox One is leading the race towards a digital only age on consoles and I for one could not be happier.
What do you guys think, will you be signing up to Xbox Game Pass when it rolls out maybe you are already on EA Access, please leave any thoughts you have in the comments below.
Image From xbox.com