Valve is Open to Offering Xbox Game Pass on Steam

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Games with 11 Comments

Valve CEO Gabe Newell is open to the idea of making Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service available on Steam. Speaking with PC Gamer, Newell said that Valve isn’t interested in creating its own game subscription service alternative, and it had “nothing philosophical against having Xbox Game Pass on Steam.

“I don’t think it’s something that we think we need to do ourselves, building a subscription service at this time,” Newell said. “But for their customers it’s clearly a popular option, and we’d be more than happy to work with them to get that on Steam”.

Microsoft bringing Xbox Game Pass to Steam would certainly make a lot of PC gamers happy. The current version of PC Game Pass leverages Microsoft’s Xbox app for Windows 10 and Windows 11, which still lacks many of the features that made Steam popular, including broad mod support.

Steam is the biggest digital game distribution platform on the market by far, and having Xbox Game Pass on Steam could really push the service to the next level. The move wouldn’t be unprecedented, as a company like EA already offers its EA Play subscription service on Steam in addition to its own Origin PC game launcher.

However, Microsoft may well have other priorities. The software giant recently detailed its Open App Stores principles for its Microsoft Store on PC and Xbox consoles, which followed some big changes the company made to make its store more attractive for app and game developers last year. Bringing Xbox Game Pass to Steam may well go against these ambitious efforts.

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Comments (11)

11 responses to “Valve is Open to Offering Xbox Game Pass on Steam”

  1. MikeCerm

    I can't imagine this will ever happen. From Microsoft's perspective, there are already 2 ways to use Game Pass on Steam Deck. You can stream, or you can simply install Windows 11. Anyone really think Microsoft is going to port its whole platform to Linux, just so Steam Deck won't have to buy a copy of Windows? It's totally illogical. Most games run better on Windows (no need for compatibility layers like Proton), and with the option to dock the Steam Deck and use it like a real PC, there's going to be a ton of Steam Deck users installing Windows. (Once Valve makes the drivers available, obviously.)

    • saqrkh

      The question Microsoft has to answer is, "will porting Game Pass to Steam Deck get us closer to our next big market?"

      The reason for making Game Pass work native on these environments is to make it easier for people to enter the Game Pass world, and perceive more value from it. tbh, I'd say the ability to download your games and play natively makes Game Pass seem a lot more valuable than just being able to stream it.

      You're right in pointing out streaming. That's probably the biggest addressable market right now because it's platform-independent.

      The next big gaming market is handheld. However, right now, that market is dominated by the Switch, and Microsoft was unable to bring Game Pass there. So, the question now is whether the Steam Deck can grow to become a fairly big no.2 in that market, or (ideally), we'd see the rise of more Linux-based handhelds using the RDNA architecture.

      If Microsoft believes that to be the case (if there are other OEMs working on gaming handhelds, I imagine Microsoft knows about those projects), then I can see them bring Game Pass to Steam as well as other Linux-based systems. This is assuming they can get past the profit-sharing and other terms.

      • MikeCerm

        Focusing on "does porting Game Pass to Steam/Linux make Game Pass better" missing the other point: you can run Windows on the Steam Deck, so why wouldn't you just do that? There are already a number of other gaming handhelds on the market (Aya Neo, etc.) that all run Windows. That's Microsoft's solution to the Steam Deck: install Windows.

        Rather than port their system to Linux -- remember, it's not just Game Pass, it's DirectX, validating that all games actually work -- a more likely response to the Steam Deck would be for Microsoft to just make their own. If Valve can do it, Microsoft could source basically the exact same hardware from AMD, and release their own handheld that supports their ecosystem. It could either "just run Windows," or be Xbox branded (more likely). This would require virtually no work, because the SoC that's already in the Steam Deck matches the OG Xbox One performance, so all Xbox One games could run with no modifications.

        • saqrkh

          Asking people to boot Windows 11 on the Steam Deck is adding a big layer of friction between the customer and their ability to properly enjoy Game Pass. The moment someone else eliminates the friction with a Game Pass alternative, then Game Pass is going to be on the back foot. You want to eliminate that risk.

          For Microsoft, the real question isn't whether they should port Xbox to the Steam Deck environment or not, but whether the non-Switch handheld market is big enough.

          I like the idea of Microsoft building its own handheld. In fact, I think that could be a good next step for the Series S line. Basically, Microsoft can copy the Switch strategy by offering a Series S-based console that can dock to the big screen or play on the go. They can sell the system through All Access: just pay a fixed monthly fee of $29.99/mo for the handheld, dock, and games.

  2. whistlerpro

    As far as I can tell Game Pass is not the thing stopping people playing Microsoft Games through Linux. If Microsoft can strike a deal with Valve and integrate Game Pass with Steam then it's a win-win as far as I can tell. Microsoft gets visibility on the number one PC gaming service (on Windows), and Valve gets more visibility and viability for their handheld (which happens to run Linux). If everyone gets paid, who cares what the OS is?

    • MikeCerm

      Microsoft doesn't need visibility on Steam that badly. Microsoft already owns the OS that virtually all PC gamers use. The Xbox app and Microsoft Store app are installed on all Windows PCs. If Microsoft were to support Steam OS, they'd have to port DirectX and so much other tech which, at the end of the day, if it were to work as well as it does on Windows, would leave gamers with one less reason to stick with Windows. "Install Windows or use game streaming" is what Microsoft will say to people who request this.

  3. rm

    "However, Microsoft may well have other priorities.": Yes, improve game install options like selecting the drive to install on and allow for moding!

    Otherwise, add game pass to Steam and then purchase Valve. There are a number of other game stores on Windows after all . . .

  4. crunchyfrog

    Wow, this combined with your steam library and a Steam Deck would pretty much make an awesome triple threat on the go.

  5. vernonlvincent

    Given the fact that the invitation is out there - I cannot believe Microsoft won't, at a minimum, explore what being on the SteamDeck has to offer. If Microsoft can help Valve can get the kinks worked out of its software so that the native experience is closer to what you'd get on a PC or console (in terms of performance and stability), I think that would make for an incredible combination.

  6. spacein_vader

    A lot of the above posts are talking a lot about Linux. Allowing Game Pass on Steam doesn't have to have anything to do with Linux or the Deckx just as EA Play doesn't. The vast majority of Steam users are on Windows. Putting game pass on there gives users another way to discover game pass and use it within a far more robust (the community, guides & modding sections are miles ahead of any competition,) client. Win win.