The new subscription service on Xbox One is… simple.
As far as reviews go, this is probably one of the easiest ones that I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing. For any subscription service however, there are a number of factors that play into what makes a service like this worth the cost of admission.
Sure, it’s a little early in the life of the service to have a review out, but it’s a dream to use as far as subscription services go.
Update: Microsoft announced on January 23rd 2018, that the Xbox Game Pass will include all Microsoft Studios first party titles from here on out. You can read more details in Falcon Game Reviews’ post regarding the topic, titled: Xbox Exclusives Heading To Game Pass.
There are a little over 100 games available for download which include indie to AAA games, from both the 360 era and Xbox One. There’s a decent selection for launch. For the purposes of this review, I picked out several games to put it to use.
- Bioshock Infinite
- Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
- Farming Simulator 15
- Mad Max
I went from signing up for the free trial to downloading the games I wanted to try in less than an hour.
There are other titles available, like Sunset Overdrive (which I recommend), XCOM: Enemy Within, Terraria, Resident Evil 0, Halo 5: Guardians, and the Gears of War series. The selection right now is pretty slim, but it’s also the beginning of the service so the catalog will expand as time progresses.
One thing to keep in mind is that any games that are downloaded will work as long as they’re still part of the catalog, so Xbox gave themselves an out by stating that there’s a possibility that games can be removed from the list of available titles. Some have taken this as an indication that the service’s catalog will be culled each month, though the wording in the service’s description appears to indicate that it will be similar to Netflix; that games will only be removed if the publisher pulls the license.
EASE OF USE
One of the many things that make the Xbox Game Pass easy to use is that it functions very similarly to the Xbox Live Games With Gold and EA Access services. If you subscribe to the service, downloading games is as easy as… well, downloading them. Finding the eligible games is also rather simple since all you need to do is access the “Memberships” tab under “My Games & Apps”. From there, you can find the Xbox Game Pass store link and browse the list of available games.
Furthermore, if you decide that you want to keep the game in your collection, you can purchase it at a 20% discount (though Xbox 360 titles are excluded), as well as a 10% discount on DLC and microtransations*. It’s not a bad deal for a game subscription service, and it’s entirely possible for the subscription to pay for itself.
The best part of the service is that it’s remarkably easy to use. Unlike the PlayStation equivalent, the games are downloads, not streamed. If you don’t have access to a fast internet connection (like myself here in podunk western Oklahoma), then being able to download the games is going to sound like a godsend. Additionally, you can browse the list of games available to members easily without being a member, giving you the opportunity to decide quickly if the service looks like a good investment.
The price of entry for the service right now is $9.99 (US) a month. Whether or not the subscription is worth that price is a matter of opinion, and will heavily depend on what games you want to play.
Right now, it’s a decent service for the price paid. As I said in the beginning of this review, this was rather easy to write, but only because the service itself is extremely simple and a breeze to use since it’s integrated into the Xbox One Marketplace. It could stand to have the catalog expanded a little, but it’s still early in the game so far.
Regardless, the factors that matter are all ones that need to be taken into consideration before plunking your credit card down for the subscription. It’s important to consider the games in the catalog. Obviously, if the titles available aren’t of interest to you, you shouldn’t buy in. However, if there are even a few games in the list that look good to you, it’s worth trying out.
*As of the writing of this review, I’m attempting to determine if games purchased with the discount are kept if the subscription lapses. I will update this post once I know for sure.
Update: It appears that purchases made with the Game Pass discount do in fact remain in your library if you end your subscription.
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