Xbox player or not, by now you will have heard of the Xbox games pass. Now, before any one rages or calls foul for me not mentioning PlayStation Now, well I just did. As a PC and Xbox gamer, the Xbox games pass holds more value to me, therefore in this article I will address its perks and drawbacks, (all of which will probably apply to PlayStation Now anyway).
Xbox games pass was first introduced in 2017 and is a monthly subscription that allows access to hundreds of games, including all Xbox exclusives. This means the newest titles, as well as old gems. Like Netflix the games can be taken off and news games are constantly being added, meaning there’s always something new that you will want to play. This doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.
Xbox games pass is all digital, so for anyone looking to rent a hard copy this can be off-putting. Though, I would argue: who would actually rent a game instead of just downloading it? I mean you got to download it anyway when the disk arrives. This is really just a nit-pick, I imagine most people do not have an issue with only having access to the digital copy. The digital aspect means that at any time and without warning a game can be removed, although with the over populated gaming market at the moment it would be hard not to find a replacement.
On the bright side games pass offers discounts of up to 20% on any game currently in the existing catalogue, if you decide you don’t want to risk losing a most beloved game you can buy it at a discount. This way you never have to worry about a favourite game being removed.
Games pass is just growing stronger, with Xbox giving all their exclusives and even bringing back some of the old beauties of the 360 era, such as Halo or Gears of War. There seems to be, on Microsoft’s side, a great deal of effort being put into maintaining the games pass and turning it into the future. To be honest I am not sure this a bad thing, I mean if you really love a game you can buy a copy and if you are unsure about a game well there it is for you to try.
Then add on the benefit that if you share an Xbox you can split the subscription and have access to all the games. It’s getting more and more convenient to play any game you want, after a two to three-hour download.
The only down side I see is what will this do to the high street gaming shops, the middle man between ourselves and Microsoft. Will they fare the same way as blockbuster, meaning supermarkets are the only places you can go for a hard copy? I mean it’s how the DVD industry changed, either you buy it online or pop to Tesco.
Could this lead to a dystopian future of gaming, where games pass is the only way to gain access to any Xbox game and Microsoft can change the price at a whim. Where we will no longer be able to shop during sales, buying Red Dead Redemption 2 at half price on Black Friday. I honestly doubt it. While I am sure Microsoft will find some way to use the game pass to squeeze some extra money out of gamers, I doubt it will change so dramatically without some backlash.
Though with the rise of micro-transactions and loot crates gamers are right not to trust big corporations like Microsoft. That’s not to say we are powerless as a community. If, like Battlefront 2’s loot crate scandal, the games pass is just a money-making scheme we can stop subscriptions. There is no need to fear the future, gaming is all about progress pushing forward, the Xbox game pass is just a new branch of the gaming industry.
Most likely Xbox games pass like Netflix is just another option, another way to enjoy our favourite games. Not every game will go onto games pass and I don’t think companies like Game or CEX will go out of business because of games pass. Instead, all those little extra games you could never afford alongside main releases, are now available for you to try without having to fork out £40.
At the moment Xbox games pass is still just starting out, with more games being added and it’s constantly developing ways to bring in more gamers. I don’t know if this will change how games work if places like Steam will bring in their own version, but I am excited to see it develop. As one of the few changes in the gaming industry that I am excited about, I hope that games pass continues to develop with the gamers in mind.