X019: Xbox’s Phil Spencer pitches Game Pass as the saviour of linear games – as Microsoft announces three new IPs

Today Xbox chief Phil Spencer explicitly positioned Xbox Game Pass as the saviour of the traditional video game, saying: “On Game Pass, a game can just be a game, with a beginning, a middle and an end. We can support those kind of games.”

Subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass look to provide a platform for the kinds of games that consumers play through, enjoy, and move on. A part of the industry that has reduced somewhat in size and status in recent years – especially in the mid-budget segment.

Such games have obviously suffered in the switch to ‘games as a service’ titles, with Spencer adding: “Many studios were chasing service games, in order to recoup their investment, there was a feeling that a game had to last forever.”

Speaking ahead of the platform holder’s X019 event across this weekend in London. Spencer also noted that Xbox Game Pass subscribers had doubled over the last year and that the platfom was “a business model that has more approachability, we see gamers take more risks [when choosing games to play]. And that helps expand “the diversity and genres, making it a healthy part of our industry.”

Microsoft also announced three new IPs of its own, either exclusives or from its now ample stable of first-party developers. Though not all of them being ‘beginning, middle and end’ titles, showing that Microsoft wants a balance of both types of games in its stable.

From Xbox Game Studios’ Rare comes the studio’s first new title since the announcement of Sea of Thieves: Everwild. Details are very thin on the ground at present, but Rare said it would be “an experience that allows for new ways to play in a natural and magical world.

“The development team, led by executive producer Louise O’Connor, is creating something truly original and incredibly special that aims to be more than just a new IP. Everwild will give you memorable, engaging and meaningful experiences for players everywhere to share. We cannot wait to share moren with you in the future.”

Tell Me Why, from Life is Strange studio DONTNOD, is coming exclusively to Xbox One on console, along with Windows 10 and Steam releases, as well as being available through Xbox Game Pass. The game is notable for its promises to explore the trans experience of one if its main characters.

“Set in small-town Alaska, Tell Me Why places you at the heart of a mystery in an intimate, true-to-life story where twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan use their extraordinary bond to unravel memories of a loving but troubled childhood.”

And from Xbox’s Obsidian comes Grounded, which spins a first-person survival game out of the ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ concept. “Players must gather, craft and build bases with everyday objects found within the yard, searching for life-saving resources and living alongside giant, peaceful insects while fighting to survive massive hostile inhabitants.”

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