In recent times, my household received a lovely gaming gift: a trial subscription to Xbox Game Pass. For a month, we had a great time perusing the app’s amazing selection of games and adding oodles of title to our “to-play” list. And we had just as good a time (sort of) agonizing over the lack of time we had to play any of them. C’est la vie. Only then, we discovered that Microsoft had been kind(?) enough to convert our few remaining months of Xbox Live Gold to the Game Pass, and now Game Pass members we remain for a little while longer. If you know the service, then you also know that Game Pass is pretty darn nifty.
Eurogamer recently posted an excellent and in-depth article on Xbox Game Pass titled “Is Xbox Game Pass to Good to be True?” It goes into great detail about not only the nuts and bolts of the service itself, but also its sustainability in our on-demand world. The service now has tens of millions of subscribers. No doubt, some of them, like us, ended up as such by happenstance. And I’m not complaining, because as I said, Xbox Game Pass is downright amazing. Putting aside our physical backlogs (*couch cough*), it’s awesome to have a varied library of games at our fingertips. To a certain degree, the service eliminates “buyer’s regret.” If you don’t like a title, you just remove from your library and head into the next game, no questions asked. And it’s especially neat to have access to some new games immediately.
And yet, despite the “cool” factor…
… in the few months that we’ve had Xbox Game Pass, we’ve played three, maybe four games from it. So what gives?
Time, that’s what. Or rather, it doesn’t, because there just aren’t enough hours in our day for all the enjoyment that Xbox Game Pass provides.
Like many, we subscribe to several different entertainment services, all of which have mostly replaced two things: watching broadcast television and going to the movies. In hindsight, it used to be that these two activities took up the majority of our free entertainment-driven time, with gaming taking up a decent third place. Throw in various other hobbies, and life becomes what it is. My point is that, despite its promise of limitless gaming, it’s not the first or even second place we’ve been turning to as a gaming outlet, or even as a general entertainment outlet. It’s very nice to know that, for example, I could easily jump into West of Dead, a game I’d like to play someday and don’t already have in my physical backlog. But knowing and doing are two different things. Because I’m not used to following the Xbox ecosphere, what’s more likely to happen is what happened with the game My Friend Pedro. Played that for a couple sessions, forgot about it favor of other games, and then tried to go back to it only to find out it had left the service. (/sadtrombone)
So really, the question of Xbox Game Pass for my own household is if it’s worth keeping in the long run. Yes, it’s nice to have for the moment, but what is its worth if we continue to mostly ignore it? As with many things, value and use go hand in hand. Further, it’s pretty clear that Microsoft really wants people to subscribe to it over that of Xbox Live Gold. (And if anything, they really, really want folks to get the Ultimate version of the service, a difference of $10 vs. $15 USD a month). The answer to that might very well lie in a few points brought up in that Eurogamer article about how the service may transform, and transform access to games, in the future (at least as far as Microsoft is concerned). It may just be a matter of seeing where things stand when our Game Pass subscription lapses. Though…I have a feeling that Microsoft will do everything in its power to ensure that’s something we don’t want to have happen.
If you’ re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, what are your thoughts on it? Is the smorgasbord of games perfect or perfectly over (or under) whelming?