There’s something special surrounding the arrival of a brand new title, but that often holds especially true for console exclusives. That’s not to say that multi-platform releases ranging from annual titles like FIFA to blockbusters like Red Dead Redemption 2 don’t generate their own buzz, but the cost of entry solely to access exclusive games is significantly higher for those that feel obligated to own multiple consoles as a result.
Those expenses are only made heftier through the purchase of the actual software that a consumer wants to play, and at that point the price necessary to stay up to date with a relevant library starts to become overwhelming from a financial perspective.
Fortunately, it looks like Microsoft is looking to provide consumers with an option to help cut down on the costs associated with playing games made by its own in-house developers, and the publisher plans to do this through its Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
Microsoft has confirmed that any game released by one of its studios moving forward will become accessible to anyone with an Xbox Game Pass subscription upon its original release date. This new initiative will kick off with Rare‘s Sea of Thieves on March 20, 2018 and will follow with Crackdown 3 and State of Decay 2 later that same year.
With the approximate total of these games currently ringing in at $239.94 CAD prior to tax (based on current Amazon Canada pricing), the $143.88 CAD pre-tax required for a year of Xbox Game Pass makes the investment seem like a no-brainer. Even if a fan only wanted two of the three games, it makes perfect sense to grab the subscription for a year.
There’s also the potential (if not a strong likelihood) that even more Xbox-only titles will also be launching in 2018, with promises of future Halo, Forza, and Gears of War entries being attached to this announcement as well – albeit presumably coming years down the line. At that point, having a subscription to the service can save hundreds of dollars year-over-year for consumers, all while providing them with a range of content that they may have never picked up otherwise.
All of this is great… except for those that don’t care about exclusive software.
This is where the perceived value of the Game Pass drops, as those that are only interested in playing games like the latest instalment of FIFA or a major one-off like Red Dead Redemption 2 don’t save anything through the service. The reason the service lacks these titles is because, in actuality, the company’s focus is to retain as much of the revenue from the service as it can without paying out an arm and a leg for the inclusion of third parties – and it can do this by offering its own games as an incentive on Day One. Through this, there’s far more revenue-based stability for Microsoft in a subscription model than a core release, as the latter can fluctuate wildly in sales based on the IP.
It’s smart, but in the eyes of the mainstream consumer it still lacks the Day One third-party support that would make it the must-have gaming subscription service that they’ve been waiting for. What this instead does is stand as an incredibly promising first step towards making AAA gaming affordable to the masses that rewards dedicated Xbox fans, all as the company continues to build and improve on the service through day-and-date exclusive releases.
This premise of a “universal” Game Pass is almost surely years away from being realized, but it’s clear that Microsoft is serious about building and rewarding its user base through affordable content. Having said that, it’s going to be intriguing to see what comes next, as gamers are the real winners with such an industry direction.
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