Xbox Game Pass is the first true Gaming Netflix

Everyone around the Spoon Deep offices is excited about Sea of Thieves.  We have been looking for an adventure game that we can play together at night that may actually help us relax after a stressful day of work, rather than get angry at losing yet another competitive match of Overwatch.  But $59.99 is always a tough sell when there are so many other things vying for our hard earned cash.  Chase wants a new computer, Brian wants a new piano, and Ian just wants to take a nap.  Not to mention that I have a lot of games to buy each month.  What if I told you that you could own the full version of Sea of Thieves for $9.99?  Are you interested?  Microsoft has just announced that the Xbox Game Pass will allow you to do just that.

Here is the official description of the service from xbox.com:

Get unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games on Xbox One for one low monthly price. Play highly-anticipated new games like Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Crackdown 3 the day they’re released, and enjoy a wide variety of games, from recent blockbusters, to critically-acclaimed indie titles. Discover and download titles you’ve always wanted to play or revisit favorites that you’ve been missing. Games are selected for high ratings and fun, and if you love an Xbox One game currently in the existing catalog and want to own it, you can buy it and save up to 20%, plus get 10% off any Xbox One game add-on. With new games added every month, and the option to cancel anytime, Xbox Game Pass is your ticket to endless play. Sign in for your available offers. Promotional offers may not be valid for all members.

Microsoft recently announced that Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, Crackdown 3, as well as future Halo, Gears of War, Forza and all first party games will all be available via the Xbox Game Pass on the same date as their global release.  I was also unaware of the 10% off any Xbox One game add-on.  The value proposition here is huge.

Microsoft Xbox lead, Phil Spencer, sat down with Business Insider to discuss the potential for this new innovation in consumer choice.

Spencer views services like Netflix and Spotify as a way to gain more  watchers, more listeners, and with the Xbox Game Pass, more players.  This service will give players more choices when buying and playing games.  Microsoft has also stated that first party games will be permanent additions to your Game Pass library.  So you don’t have to worry about losing access to Sea of Thieves a few months after release.

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Gamers can choose to go out and buy Sea of Thieves for $59.99 on March 20th, or they can choose to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass for $9.99 and receive access to it and over one hundred other games.  With games moving in a more service-like direction this makes perfect sense.  For better or for worse, players no longer own their own copies of the game.  Even if you own a physical disc for a game on the Xbox One, that game most likely requires the Xbox Live servers or game specific updates and maintenance in order to become playable.

Games like Sea of Thieves also require players actively participating within the game world in order to achieve an optimal experience.  With access to the game starting at $9.99, I can all but guarantee that the game will see a huge population during the first month.  If Microsoft and Xbox can keep pushing regular updates to the Xbox Game Pass then players are more likely to continue subscribing and are more likely to keep playing Sea of Thieves.  And Sea of Thieves currently occupies the top spot on twitch.tv so I think that at least some people are interested in the game.

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People will always say that games are too expensive too make, and thus this program will ultimately fail or that Microsoft will not continue to release AAA games, like Halo, for the service.  I strongly dislike the argument that games are too expensive to make.  Games can be as expensive to make as the developers choose, poor budget management does not excuse the high price of games or $4.99 horse armor.  I bet that House of Cards was expensive to make, but Netflix is still managing to stay afloat with a $7.99/month price tag.

This is exactly the shot in the arm that the Xbox needed.  The Xbox has defined itself on the backs of multiplayer online experiences, some of which require constant updates and large player populations in order to succeed.  Paying $9.99 a month in order to play Sea of Thieves, Halo 6,and Forza Horizon 4 sounds like a great deal.  And if you stop playing games you can always cancel the subscription.  Even if you don’t like any of the games I’ve mentioned thus far, check out some of the other games that you can add to your collection instantly:

  • #IDARB
  • 10 Second Ninja X
  • A Kingdom for Keflings
  • A World of Keflings
  • Age of Booty
  • Bard’s Gold
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Banjo Kazooie: Nuts n Bolts
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • Bayonetta
  • Bionic Commando Rearmed 2
  • BioShock
  • BioShock 2
  • BioShock Infinite
  • Blood Bowl 2
  • Borderlands
  • Bound by Flame
  • Braid
  • Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons
  • CAPCOM ARCADE CABINET
  • Casey Powell Lacrosse 16
  • CastleStorm
  • Comic Jumper
  • Comix Zone
  • Costume Quest 2
  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
  • Dark Void
  • Darksiders Warmastered Edition
  • Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition
  • Deadlight: Director’s Cut
  • Dead Island Definitive Edition
  • Dead Rising 3
  • Defense Grid 2
  • Defense Grid
  • Devil May Cry 4 SE
  • de Blob 2
  • DIG DUG
  • DiRT Rally
  • DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition
  • Double Dragon Neon
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
  • Electronic Super Joy
  • F1 2015
  • Fable 2
  • Fable III
  • Farming Simulator 15
  • Final Fight: DblImpact
  • FLOCK!
  • Fuzion Frenzy (Original Xbox)
  • Galaga Legions DX
  • Garou Mark of the Wolves
  • Gears of War
  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 3
  • Gears of War 4
  • Gears of War: Judgment
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition – Day One Version
  • GRID 2
  • Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
  • Halo Wars Definitive Edition
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Halo: Spartan Assault
  • Hexic 2
  • Hue
  • Iron Brigade
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Jetpac Refuelled
  • Joe Danger 2: The Movie
  • Joe Danger Special Edition
  • Joy Ride Turbo
  • JumpJet Rex
  • Kameo
  • Knight Squad
  • KOF98UM
  • KYUB
  • Layers of Fear
  • LEGO Batman
  • Limbo
  • Lumo
  • Mad Max
  • MASSIVE CHALICE
  • Maldita Castilla EX – Cursed Castle
  • Mass Effect
  • Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
  • Mega Coin Squad
  • Mega Man™ Legacy Collection
  • Mega Man 9
  • Mega Man 10
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes
  • Metal Slug 3
  • Metal Slug XX
  • Metro: Last Light Redux
  • Monday Night Combat
  • Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine
  • Ms. Splosion Man™
  • MX vs ATV Reflex
  • N+
  • NBA 2K16
  • NBA Playgrounds
  • NEOGEO BATTLE COLISEUM
  • Ninja Gaiden Black (Original Xbox)
  • Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty
  • OlliOlli
  • OF: Dragon Rising
  • PAC-MAN CE DX+
  • PAC-MAN MUSEUM
  • PAYDAY 2: CRIMEWAVE EDITION
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Pharaonic
  • Pumped BMX +
  • ReCore Definitive Edition
  • Resident Evil 0
  • Resident Evil 6
  • Resident Evil HD
  • Roundabout
  • Sacred 3
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
  • Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell
  • Sam&Max Beyond Time…
  • Sam&Max Save the World
  • Samurai Shodown II
  • ScreamRide
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co.
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage
  • Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter
  • Sky Force Anniversary
  • So Many Me
  • SOULCALIBUR
  • SOULCALIBUR II HD
  • Spelunky
  • Splosion Man
  • Stacking
  • State of Decay
  • Steredenn
  • Strider
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings
  • Super Street Fighter IV
  • Super Time Force
  • Tecmo Bowl Throwback
  • TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT 2
  • Terraria
  • The Bridge
  • The Bug Butcher
  • The Flame in the Flood
  • The Golf Club
  • The Book of Unwritten Tales 2
  • The Maw
  • The Swapper
  • The World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap
  • This War of Mine: The Little Ones
  • Tower of Guns
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Toy Soldiers: Cold War
  • Ultratron
  • Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown
  • Viva Piñata
  • Viva Piñata: TIP
  • WRC 5: World Rally Championships
  • WWE 2K16
  • XCOM: Enemy Within
  • Zoo Tycoon

For the record, I will not be buying Sea of Thieves, I will be subscribing to Xbox Game Pass.  And after 6 months, when I’ve paid $60.00 for the service and had my fill of Sea of Thieves, I will unsubscribe; unless Crackdown 3 gets released and then I will gladly keep the subscription for 6 more months.  I really enjoy subscription based services because they allow you to sample a large variety of experiences and could expose you to something you never thought you might enjoy.  Although I worry about the ability for consumers to own their purchased products.  I love owning a large collection of films and music, which can be passed on to future generations and enjoyed without time limits.  Digital media is always at risk of becoming obsolete and games have even recently become delisted from online marketplaces or altered in such a way that the original experience can no longer be had.  For now I am optimistic about the Xbox Game Pass updates and am curious to see how it plays out in the future.

Anyone else exciting for the Xbox Game Pass updates?

Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks

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