When Microsoft launched the Xbox Game Pass subscription service last year, it was seen as a pretty good deal. It would give subscribers access to over 100 games (Xbox One and backward compatible titles) for a monthly fee. Microsoft is interested in making the deal a little sweeter, though, and has now announced a major new change to the service.
In a brief trailer that runs under one-minute long, Microsoft has revealed that Xbox Game Pass subscribers will soon have access to first-party titles on their release date. This means that Xbox One exclusives such as Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3 will be available on the day that they launch worldwide.
In a statement, the newly promoted Microsoft executive (and former Xbox boss) Phil Spencer said, "We know our fans value having a variety of games to play at a low monthly price. We’ve also heard from fans that the ability to play new blockbuster games in Xbox Game Pass is important." As a result, Spencer said, "Moving forward, we plan to release all new Xbox One exclusive games from Microsoft Studios into Xbox Game Pass on the same date as their global release."
Additionally, Microsoft has confirmed that a new Xbox Game Pass subscription option will launch alongside Sea of Thieves on March 20. Players will be able to purchase six-month subscriptions for $59.99 – retailers including GameStop will carry the subscriptions in-store.
This change to the Xbox Game Pass represents a shift in Microsoft's overall strategy. In an interview that took place late last year, comments made by Phil Spencer seemed to suggest that Microsoft is no longer just interested in selling games consoles and that it could debut a streaming service that does not require a console within the next few years. While Microsoft is a long way off from that just yet, the company is clearly interested in finding new ways to deliver games to players.
The announcement also reflects a shift in the overall games industry and the sorts of games that people are playing. Games as a service is a buzz-phrase that refers to games like Destiny 2, which are regularly updated and keep players coming back. With microtransactions and subscriptions, companies can make money from them past their initial purchase price.
This may be what Microsoft is banking on here, as the company can make more money by selling recurring Xbox Game Pass subscriptions than it can from one-off game purchases. But just how lucrative this move will be for the company remains to be seen.
Source: Xbox – YouTube