Microsoft is shifting its strategy, it seems.
Way back when I first heard about the Xbox Game Pass, I felt that Microsoft definitely had a shift in focus. Instead of the streaming option, they chose to make a subscription service that saved gamers on their bandwidth usage, for a lower cost than competing services like PlayStation Now.
Now Microsoft has announced that all future Xbox One first party games will be accessible through the Xbox Game Pass.
Moving forward, we plan to release all new Xbox One exclusive games from Microsoft Studios into Xbox Game Pass on the same date as their global release. This means that when Sea of Thieves launches on March 20, it will be included in Xbox Game Pass to all members.
This plan to bring new games timed with their global release into Xbox Game Pass not only includes announced titles like Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 and Crackdown 3 but future unannounced games from Microsoft Studios including new iterations of our biggest Xbox One exclusive franchises such as Halo, Forza and Gears of War, on the same day they launch.
What Does This Mean?
The trend of the gaming industry seems to be moving more towards the “games as a service” model, and while other attempts have been more along the lines of MMO-lite games featuring microtransactions as a means to extend their profitability, this seems like it could be a step in a direction that can benefit gamers more.
The option will soon exist for a player to have a library of games that is populating itself with brand new games, while subsidizing the cost through a subscription service. Other options similar to this currently exist in the form of rental services like GameFly, but being able to download the title you want to play instead of waiting for it to ship is a magnificent value proposition.
Additionally, part of what makes this announcement interesting is that the Xbox Game Pass allows subscribers to purchase games featured in the catalog with a 20% discount, nearly rivaling other subscriptions like Best Buy’s Gamer Club and Amazon Prime’s now-curtailed video game discount. Granted, the Xbox Game Pass subscription only gives the 20% discount on games in the catalog, and the subscription itself costs $10 (US) a month, but this will be one of the first times that gamers can get a discount on a brand new, digital version of a major release.
That means that a subscriber could download and play Halo 6 or Forza Horizon 4 on day one without needing to make a trek to the store or make an additional purchase in the Xbox Store.
About the only thing holding this back from being the best news in the games industry in a long time is that Microsoft Studios isn’t exactly producing that many truly first party titles as of late. Sure, Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 are coming out soon, but unless Microsoft really steps up their game, this news won’t exactly be a major shake-up in the industry. Microsoft needs to empower their publishing division and first party developers to begin creating more original IPs for the Xbox One if they want to keep up their momentum. That means less focus on sequels for the Halo, Forza, and Gears of War series, and more stuff like Sea of Thieves.
Source: Xbox Wire
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