Xbox Game Pass
|Type||Subscription gaming service|
|Launch date||June 1, 2017|
May 24, 2017 (Xbox Live Gold access)
|Platform||Xbox One and Windows 10 over Xbox app|
Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service from Microsoft for use with its Xbox One games console. Described as "Netflix for video games", the Xbox Game Pass grants users access to a catalog of games from a range of publishers for a single monthly subscription price. The service was launched on June 1, 2017 while Xbox Live Gold subscribers received priority access on May 24.
On February 28, 2017, Microsoft announced the debut of Xbox Game Pass and made a limited catalog of games available to select members of its Xbox Insider community for testing and feedback. Later in the second quarter of 2017, the service was opened up to players who subscribe to Xbox Live Gold, and then to the general user population. An Xbox Live Gold subscription is not required for Xbox Game Pass, but it is required for any online multiplayer content the games in the catalog may contain.
As part of Microsoft's E3 2017 press conference, Microsoft announced that selected Xbox titles would be made available through a new backwards-compatibility feature similar to that in place for Xbox 360 titles. In a later interview, Phil Spencer stated that some of those games could make their way onto Game Pass, as well.
On January 23, 2018, Microsoft announced an expansion of Game Pass that would see first-party titles arrive on the catalog day-and-date with the retail release of the game. Sea of Thieves was the first new title to appear on Game Pass on its retail launch date, March 20, 2018. Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2 and Forza Horizon 4 would also be added upon launch, although their launch dates were not announced at the time, and future releases in existing Microsoft franchises, such as Halo and Gears of War, would also be added upon their release. Additionally, select ID@Xbox titles are also added to the service on their release dates, the first being Robocraft Infinity.
Spencer has stated that Microsoft's intent with the Xbox Game Pass is to make it available across many devices, including those of their competitors. Spencer stated "We want to bring Game Pass to any device that somebody wants to play on...Not just because it’s our business, but really because the business model allows for people to consume and find games that they wouldn’t have played in any other space."
Xbox Game Pass is similar to Xbox One's existing EA Access video game subscription and to the PlayStation Now service offered by rival Sony. The subscription catalog contains more than 100 games at launch, with games being added to, and sometimes withdrawn from, the catalog from time to time. Xbox Game Pass allows the player to download the full game to the console; according to Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, this was done to give players "continuous, full-fidelity gameplay without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues". Unlike EA Access, Xbox Game Pass offers games from a wide range of publishers, such as Namco, Capcom, WB Games, 2K Games, Bethesda Softworks, and first party games from Xbox Game Studios. Additionally, while PlayStation Now has a rental option for its games in addition to a paid subscription option, Xbox Game Pass has no such option.
The catalog features select games for Xbox One as well as select Xbox 360 and Xbox titles with which Xbox One is backwards-compatible. There is no limit to the number of games a player can download and install to their consoles, other than the amount of storage space available to the console. As long as a game remains in the catalog, it is available for unlimited download and play by subscribers. Players can purchase games in the catalog at a 20% discount, and any related add-on content for those games at a 10% discount. The discounted price is available only while the game is in the catalog and is only for the particular game; for comparison, the EA Access 10% subscriber discount applies to any EA-published content, not just content in its subscription catalog. Games from the catalog can be played while the console is offline, but for no more than 30 days before it must reconnect to verify an active subscription.
If the game is removed from the catalog by Microsoft, or the player ends their subscription, access is suspended until the player purchases the game or renews their subscription, but their in-game progress will be saved in the interim. If the game is an Xbox 360 title, it will be back-compatible and must be used on Xbox One; it cannot be downloaded to a player's Xbox 360 console unless the player chooses to purchase it.
The service is available in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK and the USA.
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- Paul Tassi (February 28, 2017). "Microsoft Takes Aim At PlayStation Now With Netflix-Like Xbox Game Pass". Forbes. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
- Alex Osborn (June 11, 2017). "E3 2017: Xbox One Original Xbox Backwards Compatibility Details Revealed". ign.com. Ziff Davis, LLC. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- Phil Spencer (January 23, 2018). "Xbox Game Pass Expands To Include New Releases From Microsoft Studios". news.xbox.com. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Levy, Nat (March 4, 2019). "Beyond the console: Xbox leaders detail Microsoft's gaming future, led by xCloud streaming service". Geek Wire. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Tom Warren (February 28, 2017). "Microsoft's new Xbox Game Pass subscription grants access to more than 100 games". The Verge. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
- Romain Dillet (February 28, 2017). "The Xbox Game Pass is a $9.99 Spotify-like game subscription". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
- Phil Spencer (February 28, 2017). "Introducing Xbox Game Pass: Unlimited Access to More Than 100 Games". Microsoft. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
- Wesley Copeland (February 28, 2017). "Microsoft Announces Xbox Game Pass Subscription Service". ign.com. Ziff Davis. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
- "Xbox Game Pass". Microsoft. Retrieved February 28, 2017.