Netflix very quickly demonstrated how quickly one kind of viewing platform can very quickly dominate over another. Although DVD and Blu-Ray hangs nervously in the race, it’s of no surprise that sales have massively declined as Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Prime and the other smaller services have grown to replace them in the living room. Not only are the streaming options affordable, but they offer good selections, exclusive content and an individual user experience.
So inevitably gaming was going to get round to this at some point. They’ve already tried this a few times over the years, notably without much success. Sony gave it a shot with their Playstation Now back in 2014, but critically doesn’t offer up any Playstation 4 games. EA have their EA Access going on, something to which I subscribe myself. It’s a good service, but being limited to a single publisher doesn’t make it stand out in terms of versatility.
Enter Xbox Game Pass! A brand new service that will be immediately offering up 100+ titles across both Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
They’ve got some decent starting titles lined up – Halo 5, Saints Row, Gears of War, Devil May Cry and X-Com to name a few.
The big question is – Will this work long term?
My prediction is no, it will not.
I’m actually subscribed to Netflix, Now TV AND Amazon Prime. Why? Because they each offer me something unique. Netflix and Amazon offer exclusive content. Now TV offers me Premium content, and allows me to view my favourite shows (such as the recently release Twin Peaks, for example) that I would otherwise be unable to watch on or close to release. It’s very simple. There’s a requirement and that requirement is fulfilled by each one of these services. It’s for that reason that I’ve never felt inclined to cancel one of them.
How can Xbox possibly mirror this? They’ll be offering a back catalogue of games that are neither new or exclusive. Many of these games will be extremely cheap to pick up in hard copy. Many you will have overlooked in the past because you had no interest. Many will have no online community anymore.
Xbox aren’t going to suddenly start churning out games exclusively created for this gaming service. And they aren’t going to want to lose the huge profits generated by their new releases being sold in store and online. This is simply a graveyard for old titles that they’ve exhausted the value of.
At only £7.99 a month, it’s arguably worth having unless you’re a proper tight bastard – especially in the initial launch period. 100+ games is a good starting point, and you could spend a few months churning through all the big releases you never bothered with, the sleeper hits, the indie breakouts and the retro re-releases that you perhaps could never justify purchasing. Xbox claim they’ll be adding new titles to the list each month. I’d use the first couple of months to gauge what sort of numbers will be added each time the 1st of the month rolls around; this will give us a better idea of the longevity of value available.
You can see the full list of games available Here.