Microsoft has confirmed its Xbox Game Pass program will launch this June. Revealed via a short video on Facebook, the service will launch worldwide on June 1st with a catalogue of over 100 titles. A retail offering is also expected to launch later this year, Microsoft has confirmed.
Originally announced at GDC earlier this year, the Xbox Game Pass will offer an on-demand subscription service that lets players download a variety of titles from an ever-changing library of games for 7.99 a month. It's essentially a Netflix-style service that will exist alongside its current Xbox Live Gold subscription, and will span a range of titles from a variety of publishers.
We now have a full launch line-up of titles, too. These include Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16 , Lego Batman, Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Pinata, Mega Man Legacy Collection, Streets of Rage, Pac-Man Championship Edition, all three BioShock titles, the first three Gears of War games, Perfect Dark Zero, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, Terraria, Resident Evil 0, XCOM: The Enemy Within, Mad Max, Knight Squad and Borderlands. The service will also feature both current Xbox One and backwards compatible games from the Xbox 360.
Starting today, Xbox Live Gold members will also get exclusive Early Access to the Xbox Game Pass, and can start their 14-day free trial before everyone else. Non Gold members, meanwhile, will have to wait until June 1st before they can start the trial.
MCV recently tried to talk to the publishers signed up to the service, but few were keen to talk up the Game Pass when we reached out for comment. Indeed, analysts were cautious about the service as well, with IHS Markit's Piers Harding-Rolls commenting at the time:
Xbox Game Pass offers a different distribution approach to Sony's expanding PlayStation Now service. Sony's on-demand approach is laying the framework for the future and significantly allows it to target PC users as well as those gaming on PS4, which brings it more directly in competition with the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative.
In the short term, Xbox's approach is a more practical solution for those Xbox One users that do not want to stream the service and want to play natively.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft'sdirector of marketing for Xbox Game PassParimal Deshpande had this to say: "When launching a new subscription service, it's critical to start with the end customer experience in mind. We asked ourselves, ‘What would the top fan favourite features and benefits be?' and then worked backwards from there.
"Then it's about planning and execution to deliver on that customer experience. This means getting it right in terms of download and play vs streaming, catalogue, getting top industry publishers on board... All of these are pieces to the puzzle, and while the idea of subscription-based content isn't new, we wanted to get it right in the world of gaming."