Microsoft Announces New Games On Demand Service: Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass Announcement

Microsoft unveiled a subscription based games-on-demand service called Xbox Game Pass today.

The service, which will cost $9.99 monthly, launches later this spring. It promises to offer over 100 Xbox One and backwards compatible Xbox 360 games for both Xbox One and Windows 10.

In a news post, Xbox head Phil Spencer said Microsoft has worked out deals with several publishers to ensure a steady stream of games. Publishers include 2K, Bandai Namco, Capcom and Warner Bros. among others. Electronic Arts, which already operates the similar EA Access service on Xbox, is absent from the list. The news post also doesn’t mention major publishers Activision Blizzard or Ubisoft. While a full list of titles has not been released, the news post specifically mentioned Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16, and SoulCalibur II.

Microsoft will constantly update the games library. “Every month new games will cycle into the subscription with some cycling out, giving you a constantly-updating library of games,” said Spencer in the news post. Subscribers can buy games on the service at a discount to keep them even after they are cycled out. A 20 percent discount will be offered on the game along with a ten percent discount on any DLC while the game is on the service.

To avoid latency issues with streaming, players will be required to download the full game. Microsoft said on their website this decision was due to gamer feedback. “Based on fan feedback, streaming/connectivity issues were identified as a major pain point for competing game subscription services,” says a FAQ on the Xbox website. Xbox Gold is not required to join the service but will still be required for online multiplayer.

Xbox Game Pass is the second game subscription service on the Xbox One after EA Access. Sony offers a similar streaming service called PlayStation Now on the PlayStation 4. Xbox Game Pass will launch late spring 2017. Select Xbox Insiders will be able to preview the service starting today.

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