Mention Xbox Game Pass to a Microsoft fan and you’ll likely hear the phrase “best in game deal” within seconds. The service has grown steadily over the years, starting with a modest effort toward a Netflix-style gaming platform and growing into the backbone of Microsoft’s entire next-generation strategy.
By the end of 2020, it is starting to feel like the service has reached its full potential. It turns out that Microsoft is just getting started. Last week, the entire Bethesda series entered service and is now Square Enix Outriders will be part of the Game Pass on the same day it launches. Both of those additions are not just interesting in terms of value – they carry some key implications for the future of the service itself.
Microsoft has attracted its fans by bringing its exclusive features into the service. The new impetus for third-party games is the final piece of the puzzle that will make Game Pass something no gamer can resist, regardless of loyalty.
Third party start
So far there has been a stream of predictions about how the Game Pass will implement library plugins. The major monopolies published by Microsoft have served as the main attraction for subscribers. A select few will receive a one-day release every day on the Game Pass every month, giving players a whole new variety of titles to play with.
When it comes to AAA third-party games, this strategy has become more decentralized. Games like Doom Eternal and Control was added to service long after its first launch. That’s great news for players who aren’t buying the new release on the first day, though not too exciting for buyers. It’s always difficult to predict when third-party games will come to the service or whether they will be added to all. That means Game Pass isn’t necessarily the best solution for those who keep up with many studios.
Microsoft seems to understand that they have a blind spot. Last year, Xbox Director Phil Spencer tweeted after: “In addition to all of our first party games coming dates and months on @xboxgamepass – the team is focusing on bringing many other third party games into the service.”
Microsoft has delivered on that promise by adding EA Play to the Game Pass, bringing games from the world’s largest third-party studio onto the platform. Of course, then, Microsoft acquired Bethesda entirely with the intention of locking the library of its classics and making future games exclusive.
With Outriders Coming to Game Pass, Microsoft made the biggest move. The shooter is one of the most popular third-party releases this spring. It will launch on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation, meaning players will have to choose where they buy it. Xbox owners don’t even have to make that decision; they will have it if they bite the bullet on Game Pass. Considering how cheap the current subscription is, a one-month trial subscription will be more cost-effective than even waiting half a year for a big discount.
Before the news came, I thought I would buy it Outriders on my PlayStation 5, that’s where I played the demo of the game. Instead, I will download it on Xbox without spending a penny. As such, I now have less reason to launch my PS5 this spring. That’s the potential power of a move like this.
Rewrite the rules
All of this represents a radical change to the way we often think of consoles and third-party releases. In the past, deciding which system to buy was a matter of first-party monopolies. Do you like Halo? Get Xbox. You want to play God of War? PlayStation is for you. Where players choose to download third party games like Destiny 2 was dependent on that first decision.
Microsoft is slowly reversing that idea. Now, third-party games are becoming the top consideration when deciding to buy Series X instead of PS5 or not. Players may miss out on Sony’s best songs, but they can save a lot of money by investing in the Microsoft ecosystem. It’s not about exclusivity anymore; it’s about convenience.
Microsoft still has a long way to go before this service reaches its full potential. Sony’s strategy revolves around locking down premium timed exclusives, keeping them away from Microsoft for up to a year. Microsoft has also been inconsistent about which version of Game Pass has new games. Outriders available for console subscribers, but not for PC users. Meanwhile, the latest series of Bethesda games are scattered between console and PC, which often annoys subscribers.
If Microsoft could lock up new releases more consistently and include them at both ends of its service, then the Game Pass would really become a more common steal for gamers of all kinds. gender. The “best deal in the game” is in place to be the “only important deal”.
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