Microsoft has announced Xbox Game Pass today; a monthly subscription service, like Netflix, for gaming. The service will give subscribers a selection of games to download and play each month for a fee of $9.99 USD and $10.95 AUD.
Subscribers will gain access to “over 100 games”including titles Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16 and SoulCalibur II. The Xbox Game Pass differs from Sony’s PlayStation Now service in that the games are downloaded in their entirety.
Xbox Game Pass vs. PlayStation Now
PlayStation Now relies on users having an internet connection capable of streaming games. The streaming service includes over 400 titles and costs $100 USD per year. Originally available across PS3, PS Vita, PlayStation TV and some Bravia TVs, the service will be discontinued on all devices aside from PS4 by August 2017.
The only games available on PlayStation Now are PS3 titles and users have no option to purchase the games they play.
Xbox Game Pass will feature Xbox 36 and Xbox One titles and will give subscribers the option to purchase any title with a 20% discount. The available games will change as “every month new games will cycle into the subscription with some cycling out, giving you a constantly updating library of games.”
An alpha for the service launches today and Xbox Live Gold subscribers will have a chance to try out the service in Autumn.
Microsoft originally stated “Xbox Game Pass will only be available on Xbox One and Windows 10 devices,” but has since clarified that the service will focus on Xbox One. A spokesperson told Polygon, “Right now, we’re focused on launching Xbox Game Pass on Xbox One consoles and look forward to bringing the service to the broader Xbox community later this spring.”
At this stage the following publishers have signed on to provide titles for the service; “2K, 505 Games, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, Sega, SNK Corporation, THQ Nordic GmbH, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft Studios.”
PlayStation Now is still not available in Australia, two years after its launch. Xbox Game Pass gives Microsoft a definite edge in this region and provides the Xbox One with a feature and service not available on other consoles.
Whether players will use the service remains to be seen, but it’s certainly something to take notice of.