An early access launch date for the Xbox Game Pass service arrived Wednesday as additional details came to light following an official announcement for the new Xbox One subscription service. Microsoft announced LIVE Gold subscribers can use the new Netflix-like service today with a broader launch coming in June.
Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers in 31 markets now have access to the Xbox Game Pass service on the Xbox One, and it comes with a 14-day free trial. All non-Gold users will have access to the Netflix-like service starting June 1 along with the same free trial period.
As previously covered, the Xbox Game Pass subscription will cost $9.99 a month. Additionally, T-Mobile users will get a free month of the service through a T-Mobile Tuesdays promotion planned for June 6.
Xbox Game Pass offers unlimited access to a library of over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatible games to download and play. It is essentially a Netflix-like subscription service for games, but with downloads instead of streaming.
Note that access to Xbox Game Pass titles will be lost if the subscription is canceled or expires. However, any progress and achievements will remain with the account that played them.
The games confirmed so far include Halo 5: Guardians, all three BioShock titles, Payday 2, NBA 2K16, SoulCalibur II, Saints Row IV, Mad Max, LEGO Batman, Terraria, Fable III, and Gears of War Ultimate Edition. You can find the complete list of games on the official Game Pass website.
Game Pass subscribers will also enjoy a discount on purchasing any of the Xbox One games in the service’s library at a 20 percent discount along with DLC add-ons at 10 percent off. More games will be added, per the official announcement.
“Our commitment to an exciting catalog goes well beyond launch – each month, Xbox Game Pass will add a new set of games to the catalog so there is always something new to play across a diversity of experiences, genres, ratings and more. For gamers, this means endless play of full-fidelity gaming experiences without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues.”
In many ways, Xbox Game Pass is more similar to Electronic Arts’ EA Access than Sony’s PlayStation Now subscription service for the PS4 and PC. The Game Pass allows for full game downloads, which Microsoft has made sure to point out doesn’t have the same issues as streaming.
Another differentiating factor between Game Pass and PS Now is cost. Microsoft’s subscription service is only $9.99 a month versus the streaming service’s $15 to $20 a month cost.
While the library of Game Pass games is older at the moment, it does grant access to a laundry list of titles for approximately $120 a year. That’s the same as two full-priced games. Throw in the four free games Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers receive every month with the library of titles from EA Access and fans of the console come tantalizingly close to never needing to purchase a game again.
With Xbox Game Pass and the Xbox LIVE Gold subscription needed for the free Games with Gold, this works out to approximately $160 to $180 a year depending on available discounts. Throw in EA Access and that’s $180 to $210 a year depending on discounts. So, the cost of approximately three full-priced games gives access to hundreds of titles.
That’s obviously not for everyone, however, and the lack of new titles does put a damper on Xbox Game Pass for now. It will be worth keeping an eye on if Microsoft is able to strike deals with any major publishers or indie developers in the future to have their games launch on Xbox Game Pass.
[Featured Image by Microsoft]