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Microsoft Xbox Game Pass will need big-ticket titles when it launches

LiveMint logoLiveMint 02-03-2017 Abhijit Ahaskar

Microsoft has announced a subscription-based gaming service called Xbox Game pass for Xbox One console users. The service will provide users unlimited access to more than 100 game titles from Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and costs $9.99 (around Rs666) per month. Some games will be available permanently, while others will be replaced with new ones every month. This will keep the library regularly updated and provide users with more choices as well.

Xbox Game Pass will not affect the existing Gold membership which rewards gold members with two to three games every month. Users don’t need a Gold membership to subscribe for the Xbox Game Pass.

Microsoft will be rolling out the Game Pass in beta version first with a few games. The entire library will be available when the final version is released in May 2017. The library will have games from popular gaming companies such as Codematers, 2K Interactive, Bandai Namco, SEGA, Focus Home Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft Studios.

How is it different from Sony’s Play Station Now

Even Sony has a subscription-based service called PlayStation Now, which gives free access to over 100 PlayStation 3 (PS 3) games to PlayStation 4 (PS 4) and Windows PC users at $19 (approximately Rs1,268) per month. Xbox Game Pass looks more value for money as its subscription fee is low and it allows users to play the games offline. PlayStation Now is more of an online game streaming service which requires fast internet connection to work. Also, with the Xbox Game Pass, users will not only be getting older games but also new titles such Halo 5 Guardians, Payday 2, SoulCalibur 2 and NBA 2K16.

Why should you go for it?

Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony PS 4 are the two of the major console gaming platforms right now, but the former is lagging behind in terms of sales. According to New York-based research group SuperData’s report, published in January 2017, Microsoft has sold only 26 million units of the Xbox One since its inception in November 2013, while Sony has sold over 53.4 million units since 2014.

Xbox Game Pass will provide some incentive to new gamers looking for a regular supply of games at a lower price. Downloading a popular and recent game title on Xbox One can set one back by Rs4,000 to Rs6,000. Even some of the old game titles such as FIFA 14 cost Rs1,999. The Game Pass is a killer deal as it will allow users to access more games at a much lower price.

What is missing

The success of Game Pass will boil down to the games that are made available on the platform. As of now, the names of game companies that will offer games for the Game Pass subscription doesn’t include some of the big names in the gaming industry such as Activision Blizzard, EA Sports, Square Enix and Ubisoft. They are known for some of the most popular game franchises such as FIFA, Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty and Final Fantasy, and their absence will be a big letdown for gamers.

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