Xbox Game Pass
|Type||Video game subscription service|
|Launch date||June 1, 2017|
Xbox Game Pass is a video game subscription service from Microsoft for use with its Xbox One console and Windows 10. 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." Microsoft announced in May 2019 that Xbox Game Pass would be coming for Windows 10 computers, bringing over 100 games from Microsoft's own studios as well as third-parties when it launches.
On April 18, 2019, Microsoft announced Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a new tier that combines both Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold into a single subscription package. It became available for testing to Xbox Insiders that same day, while general availability began on June 9, 2019. On June 9, 2019, Microsoft announced that Game Pass for PC would launch in open beta, and this would also be included in Ultimate.
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.
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 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 backward-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.
Xbox Game Pass 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, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- The PC edition costs US$4.99 during its beta phase.
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