Microsoft Takes on PlayStation Now with Xbox Game Pass

Posted on February 28, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox One with 33 Comments

Microsoft Takes on PlayStation Now with Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft today announced a new subscription service called Xbox Game Pass that will provide unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and backward compatible Xbox 360 games for $9.99 per month.

It appears that this service is meant to counter Sony’s PlayStation Now service, which provides PS4 and Windows gamers with cloud-based access to over 400 “legacy” PlayStation 3 games. But there are of course some key differences, the most obvious being that Xbox Game Pass includes current generation titles too.

“With great games from top industry publishers such as 2K, 505 Games, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, SEGA, SNK CORPORATION, THQ Nordic GmbH, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft Studios, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and you will always find something exciting to play across a variety of genres,” Microsoft’s Phil Spencer writes in today’s announcement. “Some of the fan-favorite titles coming to Xbox Game Pass when it launches to the broader Xbox community later this spring include Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16 and SoulCalibur II.”

There’s another key difference between Xbox Game Pass and Sony’s offering: Customers will need to download the Xbox titles in order to play them. That is, you don’t stream the games over the Internet as you do with PlayStation Now.

Of course, Microsoft is pushing that as a benefit, not an issue. (Some of these games are humongous downloads.)

“That means continuous, full-fidelity gameplay without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues,” Spencer says. At least while you’re playing, that is.

Xbox Game Pass members will also be able to purchase games “at an exclusive discount,” Microsoft says, though it’s not clear what that really means. And each month new games will cycle into the subscription with some cycling out, giving you a constantly-updating library of games, the firm notes.

Xbox Game Pass arrives “later this Spring,” so perhaps close to E3. But Xbox Live Gold members will be receiving exclusive access to Xbox Game Pass prior to the program launching to the broader community, Microsoft says.

Very interesting.


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