Part ten of our series examines the new Xbox Game Pass service
The Xbox Handbook is a book in progress. Xbox on Windows 10 is part of our massive look at how to use Microsoft’s entertainment console. If you have feedback about this chapter of the guide, leave it in the comments. I’ll address it in an update. The Xbox Handbook will arrive as a downloadable book in the Kindle Store later this year.
Video games are only getting more expensive as time goes by. Movies, television shows and music have all recently found themselves in the midst of a renaissance thanks to subscription services. Millions have a Spotify account. Everyone you know likely has a Netflix subscription or the username and password of someone they know who is paying for the service. Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s entry in this space.
The company is no stranger to subscription services per se; It has offered a music subscription service by three different names since 2006. Xbox Game Pass is the first time that it has taken the lessons it learned with that service and applied to something all-new.
Xbox Game Pass & Saving You Cash
Xbox Game Pass Price & Saving You Cash
For a flat fee, Xbox Game Pass grants you access to a huge library of digital video games. People only care about what makes their children smarter and their monthly expenses cheaper, in my estimation. Xbox Game Pass attempts to appeal to that part of your brain constantly seeking ways to save a buck. For $9.99 a month you can download any of the titles in the Xbox Game Pass library. I should be clear, this doesn’t replace your Xbox Live Gold subscription, which continues to cost $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
Xbox Game Pass saves you cash by filling your library with notable titles that’ll distract you from new games. At least, that’s the idea. The more time that you spend in Xbox Game Pass titles, the less you’ll feel compelled to buy newer titles. The idea isn’t without merit. Millions realized they were paying way too much for cable television only after they found themselves watching more content on Netflix than streams from their cable provider.
The savings works the other way too; it can also save you from boredom when new releases are scarce and you’d rather not part with your funds to buy something you aren’t completely interested in.
The Achievements that you earn and the progress you make within Xbox Game Pass titles stick with your account. That is, you can cancel Xbox Game Pass and continue where you left off. You’ll just need to purchase a digital or physical copy of the game because Game Pass titles stick around for as long as your subscription is current. You stop paying and they disappear. Other users on your Xbox One can play the games you download through Xbox Game Pass when you aren’t logged in.
What’s In the Xbox Games Pass List
What’s on the Xbox Games Pass List
A lack of a subscription isn’t the only way that games will disappear from your library. Xbox Game Pass is managed like any other subscription service. Content deals allow Microsoft to make the games available. New deals add new games. Old deals can expire.
The byproduct of this type of arrangement is there are always new games to experience. Of course, this also means that you stand a chance of losing access to your favorite Xbox Game Pass titles. Microsoft is promising access to more than 100 games in the service each month. It’s not saying how long it expects games to stick around.
2K, 505 Games, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, SEGA, SNK, THQ Nordic GmbH, Warner Brothers and Microsoft Game Studios will offer titles in the service. Today Lego Batman, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Mad Mac, Saints Row IV, Halo 5 Guardians, SoulCalibur 2 and NBA 2K16 are available.
You’ll notice that none of these games arrived on store shelves in the past year. I think that’s the key point here. Microsoft doesn’t want to keep you from buying must-have new titles. The company wants to encourage you not fill the time between new releases with used titles. Casual gamers get a lot of variety for a little amount of money. Those are two groups of people best served by used game sales at GameStop today.
Xbox Game Pass goes after used game buyers in another way too. Titles offered in the service get exclusively discounted. That discount could mean that it’s cheaper to purchase a title through Xbox Game Pass than it is to purchase a used copy from a retailer. It also means that subscribers have a backup option when a title leaves the service. You can buy it digitally and continue playing without fear of losing access.
Add-ons, more commonly referred to as DLC, aren’t available for download through Xbox Game Pass but are included in the exclusive discounts.
What it really comes down to is the savings. Xbox Game Pass is an attempt to save real people, real money while also dealing with the instability that used game sales foster. Microsoft nor the game’s publishers make any money on used game sales, though GameStop, Best Buy and other retailers certainly do.
Politics of the move aside, Xbox Game Pass is one of the more interesting things to come from the Xbox Live team in a while.
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