Master Chief, Xbox, and the PC GamePass Story

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.

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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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  • John Buck

    06 March, 2019 - 1:17 pm

    <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">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."</span></p><p><br></p><p>They will not charge for online multiplayer on PC. The PC audience already told them no on that. In fact, I am still surprised that they charge for multiplayer on a console. Its free everywhere else. (well ok I am not surprised, its a closed box so no competition but whatever. needs to change).</p>

    • Stooks

      06 March, 2019 - 2:24 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#409490">In reply to TriplePlayed:</a></em></blockquote><p>You need a PS Plus sub to play 99% of multiplayer games on the PS4. There is a small handful of games that do not require it to play MP but none of the popular AAA games allow that. Also the PS4 arguably has the most players when it comes to popular multiplayer games.</p>

      • John Buck

        06 March, 2019 - 4:53 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#409533">In reply to Stooks:</a></em></blockquote><p>sorry, I meant Xbox Live is free everywhere else. They do not charge you for online play on Mobile and PC for games using Xbox Live.</p>

        • solomonrex

          07 March, 2019 - 10:24 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#409574">In reply to TriplePlayed:</a></em></blockquote><p>So it boils down to three options for a robust AAA Halo future:</p><ol><li>Charge for XBL even on PC.</li><li>Put Halo only on subscription services in the future</li><li>Make Halo more of a freemium title like Fortnite.</li></ol><p><br></p><p>Like, what will fans hate least and the game directors like most? They've had plenty of paid DLC, but all of that was also supported by gamers who paid for XBL almost exclusively to play Halo. I love the fact that Halo MCC is finally coming to PC but will they ever only port old Halo games? Xbox exclusivity?</p><p><br></p><p>I think I lean towards the other commenters' idea that XBL and GamePass have to merge to make sense. I'm sure the next xbox will have game sales, and XBL will have tiers, but they'll have to move towards more of a cable TV style service built around content. Already they provide EA subscriptions for sports.</p>

  • Passinttd

    06 March, 2019 - 1:36 pm

    <p>Honestly, I could see Xbox Gold going away at some point and just being wrapped up into Game Pass. Games with Gold could easily be converted into just adding more content to game pass for everyone to use. </p><p><br></p><p>PC users will not pay for multiplayer, that is certain. Why keep having Xbox users pay for it if they can move to PC and not? Also, looking ahead to the Nintendo possibility, would they really be able to charge someone on a switch to play a game online? Or if you're using an Android phone? Especially in the phone world where games are often free because Android users don't want to pay for anything. </p><p><br></p><p>The best reason of all would be to pull one over on Sony for the next gen consoles. Soak up as many users as you can now and hope they ride it over into the XCloud era. Ride the wave of publicity and praises for finally doing away with paying to play with friends.</p><p><br></p><p>All in all, wrap Gold into Game Pass. Especially before XCloud comes out. Then you're having people on three subscriptions. Along with the possibility of losing customers because they wont want to deal with all 3. Especially when your competitors will be knocking at your door in no time. Microsoft needs to entrench hard and fast with great prices. No time to throw something at the wall and evaluate it again later. I know it is hopeful thinking but life would be better.</p>

  • Stooks

    06 March, 2019 - 2:18 pm

    <p>Hopefully they will have a CLEAR message on gaming at E3. With all the stuff you have recently written about Microsoft/Xbox gaming things are starting to get confusing at best.</p><p><br></p><p>We have right now Xbox Live Gold, Playanywhere, Xbox consoles, Microsoft store on PC and Xbox, Game pass on Xbox.</p><p><br></p><p>They maybe adding Game Pass on PC? MCC is coming to the PC. They also may allow a Windows 10 PC to be a Xbox (hyper v xbox OS?) and play Xbox versions of games on the PC shown by the recent build that had a Xbox version of State of Decay running on a Windows 10 computer????</p><p><br></p><p>Looks like your typical Microsoft clear as mud messaging to consumers to scare them away. Example lets say I wanted to get MCC on the PC in the future. I could….</p><p><br></p><p>Buy it in the Windows store, the PC version.</p><p>If I own it on the Xbox do I get it on the PC for free (PC version) because it will be a Playanywhere game?</p><p>Get it with PC game pass, PC version.</p><p>Run the Xbox version on the PC via this new Xbox on Windows 10 mode?</p><p>Run the Xbox version on the PC via this new Xbox on Windows 10 mode because I have Xbox game pass?</p><p><br></p><p>Kind of feeling like Google messaging on their music and video offerings at this point.</p><p><br></p>

    • evox81

      Premium Member
      06 March, 2019 - 3:06 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#409532">In reply to Stooks:</a></em></blockquote><p>Pedantry.</p><p><br></p><p>Not only is this preliminary information, (they haven't formally announced anything) but this is all good news. If the end result is more games and GamePass on a more diverse range of devices who cares about the details?</p>

      • Greg Green

        07 March, 2019 - 8:44 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#409547">In reply to evox81:</a></em></blockquote><p>Because the details cost money? </p><p><br></p><p>There are are no bad gaming services, only bad prices for gaming services. And that makes all the difference.</p>

      • solomonrex

        07 March, 2019 - 10:15 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#409547">In reply to evox81:</a></em></blockquote><p>You can drive away an audience with complexity and muddled messaging. There's a reason that MS, the Windows OS owner, makes a console, after all!</p><p><br></p><p>I know I purchased FH3 on disc&nbsp;thinking it was a&nbsp;PlayAnywhere title, not realizing that capability is limited to digital versions.&nbsp;And I'm someone who is on tech blogs&nbsp;practically 24/7.&nbsp;Then there's touch capability, ARM chips, game casting, screencasting, XBL, XBLA (no more alas, except on BC games that is), GamePass, Games with Gold, Deals, Deals with Gold, digital games and disc games. It's a mess.</p><p><br></p><p>It's not just MS either. SteamPlay was reviewed by a bunch of outlets on the ipad, which still comes up if you google it. It was yanked by apple and doesn't work now.&nbsp;Many console games have separate online memberships. Then there's games, expansions, DLC, disc vs digital vs day one bonuses vs loot boxes. Cars only on Forzathon, games only on Steam or Epic or</p><p><br></p><p>We're in a transition period and it's become quite confusing. For those of us who grew up in the old world of non-networked single player games on consoles and PCs, it's absolutely exploded in our lifetimes.</p>

  • CaedenV

    06 March, 2019 - 7:33 pm

    <p>Man… I hope they realize how up hill of a battle it will be to get PC gamers to pay for a monthly subscription. Most of us don't play console largely because of that sub tax. And with all of the issues they have had closing down stores for apps, music, movies, and games over the years they have not exactly shown themselves as a company who is trustworthy of us plunking down our hard earned cash to enable services like multiplayer that every other service does for free.</p>

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