By Matthew Rondina
The introduction of the Xbox Game Pass has changed how players access their gaming content, potentially having a big impact on the Xbox eSports scene.
Game Pass offers a very appealing value proposition for Xbox gamers, especially those looking to sharpen their skills over a variety of competitive genres.
How It Works
The service has been called “the Netflix of gaming” as it offers a similar subscription style format that gives you unlimited access to a combination of 100 full Xbox One, Xbox 360 and OG Xbox games for $9.99 USD a month.
The titles rotate in and out monthly in order to keep things fresh, with certain key games remaining in the fold.
The major difference between Game Pass and Netflix is the fact that there is actually no streaming of Xbox games, rather, you download the entire title to your console. This provides a seamless experience that isn’t hampered by bandwidth or streaming issues, just pure, lag free gaming straight from your console’s hard disk.
As long as you are subbed to the service, the games you have downloaded are full, locally stored, retail versions.
eSports Titles Included
When the service originally launched it offered many older, catalogue titles, but that has changed with a massive expansion.
Recently, Microsoft announced that all Xbox first-party games will be included with the subscription, meaning eSports mainstays like Halo 5: Guardians and the entire Gears of War saga are all included with the pass.
New and upcoming releases such as Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3 and State of Decay 2 are now also included the subscription.
Furthermore, when professionally competitive titles like Halo 6, Gears of War 5 or Forza launch those titles will be available day one via Game Pass alongside retail and digital copies.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer details the major changes, “This plan to bring new games timed with their global release into Xbox Game Pass not only includes announced titles like Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Crackdown 3 but future unannounced games from Microsoft Studios including new iterations of our biggest Xbox One exclusive franchises such as Halo, Forza and Gears of War, on the same day they launch.”
Bolstering The Competitive Community
The addition of all Microsoft’s first party titles makes one of the best gaming based subscriptions in the industry even better. This move will ultimately help to cultivate competitive gaming communities as player bases for many PvP titles will stay healthy for a longer period of time.
Game Pass offers a lot of flexibility in what you play without a massive price tag for trying out multiple titles. eSports communities like those found with Halo or Gears will only continue to grow with a strengthened player base via the Xbox Game Pass service.
The Game Pass could be a massive catalyst in the competitive community as first party games could also see a boost in launch window player base, which is great news for gamers, developers and publishers.
Spencer outlines the changes seen in player counts once a title hits the Game Pass roster, “When I see what gamers are doing with Game Pass, when we see the likes of Metal Gear or Gears of War coming in, we see a spike in users, but we also see a really interesting dynamic in what I call the ‘tail’ of games.” The low financial risk of trying a game via the Game Pass has more gamers willing to dive into more experiences.
More players dialled into a competitive game, means greater potential growth for the pro scene.
About the Author: Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Follow Matthew’s gaming adventures on twitter and join in on the fun!