Games With Gold is the free games service that has been a part of the Xbox Live Gold subscription for years now. Microsoft has innovated in this area by granting players access to Xbox One games as well as Xbox 360 games on their Xbox One. But now, it seems the next frontier for this sort of idea has arrived.
Today, Microsoft is announcing Xbox Game Pass, which is a new monthly service that grants unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 backwards compatible games. The service will cost $9.99 per month. It includes games like Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, Mad Max, Saints Row IV and others.
Third party publishers who are on board with the service include 2K, 505 Games, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, Sega, THQ Nordic, SNK, Warner Bros. and of course, Microsoft Studios. Interestingly absent from the list are publishers like Square Enix and Ubisoft.
Gamers can temporarily download full versions of these games onto their Xbox One. “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.” Those who do this will retain the game or DLC permanently.
Microsoft is confirming that some games will leave the program, implying that unless you buy them, they will leave your Xbox One as well. Gamers will save 20 percent on Xbox One game purchases, so long as the title is bought while the game is part of Xbox Game Pass’s catalog. DLC is discounted 10 percent and the same rule applies.
Xbox Game Pass will be available in 27 markets to begin. More markets will join the program as catalog availability permits. Streaming isn’t a part of the program. The company says they learned from competing services that streaming is not the way to run this service. “Based on fan feedback, streaming/connectivity issues were identified as a major pain point for competing game subscription services. That’s why games on Xbox Game Pass will be downloaded to your Xbox One.”
Microsoft says new games will come to Xbox Game Pass each month. They will begin testing Xbox Game Pass today via the Xbox Insider Program. A select number of titles will be a part of the Alpha Preview. Xbox Game Pass will launch this spring, though there is no exact date.
If you are an Xbox Live Gold member, you will receive “exclusive access to Xbox Game Pass prior to the program launching to the broader community.” It seems ambiguous if all Gold members will receive permanent access to the service or if they’ll need to pay an additional $10 per month. Microsoft will provide details surrounding timing in the days prior to launch. If you have questions, Microsoft has an FAQ page you can visit.
This is definitely an exciting announcement, though there is plenty more to know about the service. We’ll keep you in the loop with new details that surface in the coming days. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Xbox.