Pass with fly­ing colours

Mi­crosoft un­veils its Game Pass, grant­ing Xbox One own­ers more than 100 down­load­able games for just £7.99 a month. At long last: it’s the Net­flix of videogames!

XBox: The Official Magazine - - INSIDER -

Mi­crosoft has an­nounced a brand-new sub­scrip­tion ser­vice that will pro­vide play­ers with un­lim­ited access to a cat­a­logue of more than 100 games for just £7.99 a month. The Xbox Game Pass is com­ing to your con­sole in late spring 2017 and will let you choose from a smor­gas­bord of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games to down­load and play at your leisure. 12 ti­tles have al­ready been con­firmed for the new ser­vice, in­clud­ing bona-fide mod­ern clas­sics such as Halo 5, open-world odysseys like Mad Max, and even re­mas­tered favourites such as Gears Of War: Ul­ti­mate Edi­tion.

To put it an­other way, Game Pass is es­sen­tially the Net­flix of videogames, but in­stead of binge-watch­ing The Big Bang The­ory un­til you long for the heat death of the uni­verse, you’ll be call­ing down req­ui­si­tions in Halo 5’ s War­zone mode or plan­ning co-op­er­a­tive crime sprees in Pay­day 2. And while the Game Pass isn’t the first sub­scrip­tion gam­ing ser­vice to hit the mar­ket, it’ll differ from the com­pe­ti­tion on one cru­cial point: ev­ery ti­tle in its cat­a­logue will be avail­able to down­load di­rectly to your Xbox One. That means you’ll be play­ing at full res­o­lu­tion, rather than stream­ing some fuzzy fac­sim­ile of your favourite game, and you won’t be kicked out of your Halo 5 cam­paign just be­cause your cat knocks out your eth­er­net cable or your python swal­lows the router whole.

Of course, EA Access al­ready pro­vides Xbox One own­ers with access to a vault of down­load­able ti­tles, but the Game Pass prom­ises to be a home for a huge cat­a­logue of games from a wide se­lec­tion of pub­lish­ers, en­sur­ing a healthy range of ti­tles from in­die dar­lings and third­party favourites through to first-party block­busters. Pub­lish­ers like Cap­com, Bandai Namco, Warner Brothers and Sega have al­ready joined the party, and when Game Pass launches there’ll be at least 12 pub­lish­ers pro­vid­ing games for the ser­vice.

Spice of life

Mi­crosoft has also con­firmed that it plans to add new ti­tles to the Game Pass ser­vice on a monthly ba­sis, so there’s no dan­ger of the cat­a­logue grow­ing stale. In­stead, you can ex­pect an ever-chang­ing line-up of de­lec­ta­ble down­load­able games to sam­ple at your leisure. There’s no con­tract to worry about ei­ther – you’ll be free to can­cel your sub­scrip­tion at any time and pick it up again once you’ve got a bit of spare dosh. So it’s per­fect for gamers work­ing on a tight bud­get, or those with a des­per­ate fear of com­mit­ment.

And while we al­ready know 12 of the games that will be avail­able to Game Pass sub­scribers once spring has sprung, that won’t stop us from wildly spec­u­lat­ing as to what other gam­ing good­ies might be wind­ing

their way onto the ser­vice. The pres­ence of Cap­com on Mi­crosoft’s list of pub­lisher part­ners could hint at the Dead Ris­ing se­ries shuf­fling onto the ser­vice, or per­haps a se­lec­tion of ar­ti­sanal fight­ing games drawn from the com­pany’s ex­em­plary back cat­a­logue. 2k Games is a con­firmed pass-holder too, which maybe – just maybe – could mean that Red Dead Re­volver and an as­sort­ment of Grand Theft Auto games will even­tu­ally be avail­able for sub­scribers to sam­ple.

It’s all ter­ri­bly ex­cit­ing, and if you sim­ply can­not wait for late spring to roll around – per­haps you sleep through the hottest months of the year like the North Amer­i­can desert tor­toise – then boy howdy, do we have some thrilling news for you: Mi­crosoft has con­firmed that an early ver­sion of the Game Pass func­tion­al­ity will be avail­able as part of the Xbox In­sider Pro­gram. That means that In­sid­ers will be able to trial the ser­vice long be­fore its of­fi­cial launch, pick­ing and choos­ing from a se­lec­tion of 20 or so games. You might run into the odd bug or er­ror mes­sage along the way, but it’s a small price to pay for early access to one of the big­gest fea­tures com­ing to Xbox One.

More to come

But if you thought that the Xbox Game Pass was the only rea­son to get all fired up for 2017, then go home and get some rest, be­cause you’re clearly off your ever-lov­ing head on liq­uid Wrong. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has re­cently been shed­ding some light on the com­pany’s plans for the com­ing year, which in­clude the launch of the most pow­er­ful games con­sole ever made: Project Scor­pio.

But it isn’t just hard­ware and ser­vices that have us all aquiver with an­tic­i­pa­tion. 2017 will also see the launch of one of the most ex­cit­ing new IPs in years when Rare’s buc­ca­neer­ing Sea Of Thieves sets sail for ad­ven­ture. And, thanks to Mi­crosoft’s amaz­ing In­sider Pro­gram, you could be in with a chance to sam­ple the salty plea­sures of the game’s tech­ni­cal al­pha right now. There’s some su­perb se­quels on the hori­zon too, in the form of the ex­plo­sive Crack­down 3 and the sham­bling sand­box mul­ti­player jam­boree that is State Of De­cay 2.

And then there’s a hand­ful of con­cus­sive blasts from the past to look for­ward to as well. If you’re as old and des­ic­cated as Team OXM, you might re­mem­ber the preter­nat­u­ral plat­form­ing plea­sures of Voodoo Vince, which casts you as patch­work voodoo doll in a world of magic and mys­tery. A fully re­mas­tered

“With the Xbox In­sider Pro­gram you can trial the ser­vice be­fore its of­fi­cial launch”

edi­tion is on the way, promis­ing to in­tro­duce a whole new gen­er­a­tion of im­pres­sion­able young gamers to oc­cult mag­icks. Cult-clas­sic Phan­tom Dust is also in line for a re-re­lease, and this ut­terly idio­syn­cratic blend of strat­egy, ac­tion and col­lectible card game will now feature achieve­ments and on­line play for the first time ever.

And all that’s to say noth­ing of the ros­ter of bold new block­busters and su­per-se­cret se­quels that Mi­crosoft no doubt has lined up for the an­nual games in­dus­try mega-expo that is E3. Taken to­gether, we’re look­ing at what could very well be the most ex­cit­ing year in the his­tory of Xbox. “With such a broad and var­ied ros­ter of games and first-party ex­clu­sives on the hori­zon, con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ments across Xbox Live, and the up­com­ing launch of Project Scor­pio, 2017 is go­ing to be an in­cred­i­ble year for Xbox One,” Phil Spencer ex­plained in his mes­sage to gamers. “On be­half of ev­ery­one at Team Xbox, thank you for your con­tin­ued pas­sion and sup­port.” You’re very wel­come, Phil.

above Want to keep cer­tain games but need to end your sub­scrip­tion? All ti­tles will be avail­able at a dis­count to pur­chase per­ma­nently.

James Nouch “Ex­cited as I am for Game Pass, it’s go­ing to be amaz­ing for new Xbox own­ers. Imag­ine bring­ing home a new Xbox One, fir­ing it up and get­ting in­stant access to 100 great games. That’s go­ing to make Game Pass a huge selling point.”

Daniella Lu­cas “It’s great to see Mi­crosoft in­no­vat­ing like this and go­ing one step fur­ther than the likes of PlayS­ta­tion Now. Much like how Net­flix has changed the way peo­ple watch TV, this could be huge for the fu­ture of how we buy games.”

Matt Gil­man “The days of mud­dled mes­sag­ing are long gone. Wel­come to the new era for Xbox, where in­no­va­tion with gamers at the cen­tre holds sway. This is just the be­gin­ning, too. Project Scor­pio will tempt gamers from all camps.”

right Fight­ing, space-shoot­ing, ex­plor­ing rocky crags... Game Pass will have some­thing for ev­ery­one.

above Xbox boss Phil Spencer. That cheeky chap­pie.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.