Master Chief, Xbox, and the PC GamePass Story

Posted on March 6, 2019 by Brad Sams in Games with 10 Comments

As we head full-steam towards Game Developer Conference and E3, Microsoft is working feverishly to finalize details before they go public with several new features and products. Knowing that the company has been slowly dripping information related to these announcements for several months, piecing together some public information along with some insider knowledge, the puzzle is starting to come together.

We have known for some time that Microsoft is working on the Master Chief Collection (MCC) for the PC. Following the disastrous launch on the console, the company is going to make sure it is picture perfect before pushing it out and I have heard that it was already delayed several times; they want to ship it but know that scrutiny of the platform will be high.

Much like the MCC, GamePass on PC is not much of a secret as well. Satya Nadella mentioned it last year during an earnings call and it’s a natural extension of what the company is currently offering on its consoles.

Going forward, it’s important to be thinking of the Xbox as a platform, rather than a plastic box that plays games. Microsoft is looking to push the service to all corners of the gaming ecosystem and grow the service significantly by untangling it explicitly from the consoles of yesterday.

Which brings us to today: Microsoft’s PC version of GamePass is close to being ready for release too. And knowing how Microsoft plans to position the platform, I would expect to see MCC as the carrot the company will use to help move users to the new game offering. Further, I would expect to see other titles from Microsoft, as the Age of Empires IP, show up with GamePass as well when it launches.

And adding more flavor to this idea, Microsoft has begun teasing announcements related to this content on March 12th.

While you can argue that GamePass does exist somewhat today with PlayAnywhere, that initiative was just the start of the GamePass experience. But, GamePass will take that model to the next level with more games and deeper integration into the Xbox world which the company hopes you will pay for on a monthly basis.

What we don’t know yet is how Microsoft will sell the service and if they will require Xbox Live to play the MCC titles. Further, the release timeline is still up for debate as well. Microsoft has several gaming conferences and events coming up where they could announce these products but as is often the case, timing is subject to change.

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