Xbox Game Pass has announced that they will include all first-party Xbox exclusive games at launch. This could be a game changer but I remain cautiously optimistic since I still have my reservations about the subscription service model for video games. I remember thinking how PlayStation Now could shake up everything only to find out it didn’t but granted that was totally different circumstances.
This move by Microsoft was absolutely brilliant. While they are fine financially, I am sure Microsoft wants to make much more money out of their Xbox division. To do that they need to attract more gamers and grow their community. Changing Game Pass can revitalize interest in the Xbox by not just giving gamers access to much more of their library for great value but also show that they are committed to creating amazing first-party exclusive games.
Microsoft priced the game pass at $10/month which means enough of their users are only buying one Xbox first-party exclusive a year that they don’t mind losing the profits from their users that buy more than two games a year. Even on PlayStation I rarely find myself playing more than two full first-party games in a year even though PlayStation has many more first-party exclusive titles.
If Microsoft can get many more users signing up for Game Pass and attract new gamers to buying an Xbox One then this will have been successful. Not only have they profited but they would have expanded their market share. I suspect enough casual gamers will buy Xbox Game Pass that the number of hardcore gamers saving money won’t hurt overall profits.
With that said I am not sure that this will change gaming as we know it. I made the mistake of being a little too optimistic about PlayStation Now when it was first announced. Don’t get me wrong I am not calling PlayStation Now a failure by any means but it was not the momentum mover I initially thought it was going to back in 2014. I was much more young and naive about the pace of technology in my own self-defense.
Granted Xbox Game Pass has many advantages over PlayStation Now which is why I am sure it will do well. I am just not certain it will force Nintendo to create their own game pass or PlayStation to change PlayStation Now. Nintendo for one would certainly lose money at $10/month and if they go too much higher then no one will get it. The profits that Xbox makes would have to be pretty large for it to change the industry.
Who knows I am wrong all the time so I could very well be reading this in several years laughing again at how wrong I was. I hope Xbox Game Pass does immensely well and changes the gaming industry so that more people can afford to play more games.