SoapBox: Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass overhaul is a good move, but there’s still plenty to be done
Well Microsoft certainly did rock the games media boat this week didn’t they? The news that their Netflix-like Subscription service ‘Xbox Game Pass’ would be including all first party exclusives going forward is a smart one, but it still, predictably, leaves a lot of questions lingering. The most pressing of which is whether they have the goods to back it up. Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, and the next Halo, is okay for the time being, but what about new IPs the company frequently find themselves lacking?
If one thing’s for certain, it’s that the prospect of being an Xbox One owner has suddenly just become a lot more alluring. £7.99 a month (£9.99 for those in the U.S.A) and you’re set with over 100 games and any future first party exclusives. Tempting offer on Microsoft’s part, especially when you consider that Sony’s competing PS Now subscription service is floundering. The difference between the two being that Xbox Game Pass is able to provide a stutter-free experience due to downloading direct to the console, whereas the PlayStation service streams them.
In an ideal world for gamers, there would be a service that merges both Microsoft’s and PlayStation’s ideologies. The latter Japanese publisher has an impressive portfolio of past and future first party experiences, while Microsoft has the power to run these seamlessly. It’s worth noting that PlayStation have this power as well but are still attempting to reap the investment of GaiKai’s streaming tech via PS Now. It could be that they’ll let us download games direct one day, but then you’d be losing sales on the digital market side.
Microsoft are in the exact same position PlayStation was in during the PS3/360 console generation, needing to build as much goodwill with their audience as possible because they’re playing catch up. This latest move with Xbox Game Pass is an inspired decision and absolutely a ballsy one, potentially having the power to bring parity between Xbox One and PS4 if they aren’t able to pull ahead of their competitor.
Currently, I’m sat on the fence about getting an Xbox One. Believe it or not, that’s an improvement. Previously before I was quite happy trucking along with my PS4 and Nintendo Switch, able to play those consoles’ various exclusives without fear of missing out on what I want to play for the most part. Instant access to over 100 games across original Xbox, 360, and One alone all for such a low price will absolutely increase sales I’d wager. If only I had the time to play the games I currently own. It’s a good problem to have, and competition is good for the market.