Xbox Game Pass: A Year Later
Updated: Jul 26
When Microsoft first announced Xbox Game Pass, I was skeptical. After their monthly free games, “Games With Gold,” and how few of them were actually good I didn't have high expectations. This got better as time went by and the same can be said about Game Pass. For those that don’t know what Xbox Game Pass is, it’s a subscription service that offers over one hundred games that you can play for as long as you are subscribed. On top of that, you get to play all Xbox exclusive games, from day one, at zero extra charge.
Originally there were mostly Xbox 360 titles on it and a handful of old Xbox One titles. It disappointed me. I felt like Xbox was not taking the service seriously enough. Now though it has grown into an awesome library of games. I just recently checked it out again and saw that there are several games that not only were recent but that had good to great reviews. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), the hottest game of the past year, is available. While it is fun, it is a dumpster fire filled with glitches and hilariously bad vehicle controls. On a higher note there are plenty of great games (not just hyped up ones). Ori and the Blind Forest, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Mutant: Year Zero, Ashen, Tom Clancy’s: The Division. Just across those you have a little something for everyone, from shooter to RPG to single player story driven. That is just a sip of the over 200 games available right now for download.
One of the things that my wife and I really enjoyed is that there are many iconic series’ on there. Before we started dating, she didn’t play a whole lot of games. Not because she wasn’t interested or that she didn’t have fun playing them but because it was just not a priority. Gaming has created something that we not only bonded over, but we use to keep in touch with friends and family. There are a few series that I have wanted her to play badly and with Game Pass it is possible without having to go out of our way to buy a full copy. I got her to go through BioShock and hopefully soon through Fable. These, to me, were era defining games that need to be played to get a better grasp on where certain aspects of gaming came from and how they have evolved over time.
There are a few games that I have skipped over due to either time constraints or not wanting to buy something that I am unsure about. This came in handy when I wanted to play Mutant: Year Zero, Ashen, and Below. I am glad that I had this service otherwise I would have paid $100 or would have missed the experiences all together. If you have Game Pass, I would suggest checking them all out. They are all good in their own ways and are worth the experiences. Anyone and everyone will find one of these games worth a time sink.
Xbox has made it easy to join and to download the games. For only one dollar, yeah you heard that right, you can get a month of Xbox Game Pass. At a minimum, I would do this whenever a new exclusive came out just to test out whether or not the game was good enough to purchase or continue paying per month for Game Pass. Honestly, I think it’s a great deal for anyone that doesn’t have a ton of disposable income to just dump into games. You get around two hundred games and it costs a whopping (sarcasm) ten dollars a month. That’s a pretty damn good deal for a full library of games.
The problem that I see with Game Pass is one that is a problem on Netflix. The games could start disappearing from Game Pass while you are in the middle of playing it. That could be incredibly frustrating. I hope that they will start giving notifications when something is leaving. It would be great to get the game at a discount and/or complete a game before it is removed from the library. The thing that bugs me the most is that even if you purchase DLC and the game gets removed you are stuck with useless DLC and they only give you a 10% discount on it while it is part of the Game Pass program. It would be nice if they refunded a certain amount of the cost of the DLC when a game rotated out. It would also be nice if you could play it after it’s removal if you had it downloaded and your Game Pass was still active.
Finally, Xbox Game Pass comes with play anywhere, allowing you to access it on PC, Surface, or anywhere that will run Win 10 and support the games minimum requirements. This is pretty dang cool and may allow for more than one person to play games at the same time. I have not tried this yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you could since you can basically share libraries with one other person on the Xbox One already. This helps with not only building a library but also getting more people into the ecosystem for Xbox. Which, as of now, with all the current innovations on both hardware and software side should drive brand loyalty. This is something that Xbox is in dire need of as PlayStation has dominated the market for the last five or so years.
Game Pass might be the best value out there, allowing you to access a couple hundred games and some truly ground-breaking ones at that. Yes, some of them are entering their twilight years but they are still as good as they ever were. I own a lot of the games in the library and wish that this was available earlier because it would have allowed me to try some of the games that I did not get into and ended up being wasted on me. So, if you are new to the Xbox this is a quick way to build a library and jump into the action and for seasoned gamer's it’s a way for you to play great games on the cheap. I highly recommend giving Game Pass a go.
For integrities sake, I work for Xbox but it has no bearing on this article.