Not long after the news of Sony dropping multiple platforms from its PlayStation Now service, Microsoft has announced a new, digital content service of its own. Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service for the Xbox One that’s set to include both Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, all for download and about the price of a Netflix subscription. That is, $9.99 per month.
The key component in Xbox Game Pass is downloading. That’s huge, as similar services have all used streaming for access to games. This is full access to over 100 games, without having to worry about internet bandwidth or any of the other drawbacks of game streaming. The caveat here is games will not be permanently available. They will cycle in and out of availability on a monthly basis. I would assume much of the first-party library will be pretty static, but that’s conjecture on my part.
An interesting consolation to the cycling is that members of Xbox Game Pass will be able to permanently purchase any game available on the service at a discount. The discount will be 20 percent off any Xbox One game, and ten percent off add-on content.
As of today, Alpha Preview folks in the Xbox Insider Program will be able to access the service in a limited fashion as a test. Xbox Live Gold members will also get access earlier than everyone else. After that, Xbox Game Pass will be widely available for everyone starting sometime this spring. More minute details are not available, but this is definitely an announcement that sets Microsoft apart from its competition. Expect more information in the near future.