New Xbox subscription service Xbox Game Pass on the way

xbox game passToday, head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced via the Major Nelson blog that a new subscription service is currently being tested. It will roll out to select Xbox Insiders to iron out, and will become a monthly paid service offering loads of games, similar to EA Access.

Xbox Game Pass, as I said, will sound rather familiar to that of EA Access, a premium monthly-paid service which allows the player to download games from a growing selection, and play them as often as they like. As long as your subscription is in place, you may not need to buy any games from then on.

“Xbox Game Pass, a new gaming subscription service coming later this spring. Xbox Game Pass gives you unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and backward compatible Xbox 360 games – all for $9.99 per month.”

The $10 price tag seems rather hefty at first, but with if there’s an annual option announced at a later date, this could prove to be tempting. $120 for a full year seems excessive, but it’s not that far removed from what PlayStation Now offers. The difference between the two is that Xbox Game Pass will allow players to download the titles to their consoles, it won’t be a streaming service that is affected by lag and latency.

“With great games from top industry publishers such as 2K, 505 Games, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, SEGA, SNK CORPORATION, THQ Nordic GmbH, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft Studios, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and you will always find something exciting to play across a variety of genres. Some of the fan favorite titles coming to Xbox Game Pass when it launches to the broader Xbox community in late spring include, Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16 and SoulCalibur II.”

“In addition, all Xbox One games in the catalog – and related add-ons – will be available to purchase at an exclusive discount for Xbox Game Pass members, so you can make the games you love part of your permanent library to play whenever you want. Every month new games will cycle into the subscription with some cycling out, giving you a constantly updating library of games. Xbox Game Pass is your ticket to endless play.”

The big question, other than a potential annual subscription with a reasonable discount, is the selection of games. The service would have to be appealing in terms of current titles, and not a bag full of jaded two year old games. Could we see new-ish releases roughly 3 months in the wild hitting the service? This would be the ideal option for Xbox to consider, but the copycat EA Access service is both interesting and indeed a good direction.

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