Microsoft has announced the impending launch of Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service which provides Xbox One owners with access to a library of 100 games for a monthly fee.
Building on the company's Games with Gold programme, which offers gamers who pay the monthly fee required for online multiplayer access a small number of games each month as a reward, Xbox Game Pass works on an all-you-can-eat model: Players pay a monthly subscription fee of $9.99 (likely to be £9.99 in the UK) and gain access to a library of over 100 console games. Unlike rival Sony's similar PlayStation Now service, which renders the games on remote cloud servers and streams the result to the player, each game is downloaded and installed locally just as though it had been purchased from the software store directly - though access to the games is lost if you cancel your subscription.
Microsoft has not yet shared details of the full library of games on offer, but Xbox head Phil Spencer admitted in the announcement
that 'every month new games will cycle into the subscription with some cycling out
' and that anyone wishing to add a game to their 'permanent library
' before it disappears will be given the option of purchasing it at a discount.
Companies confirmed as partnering on the programme to include their games in the library are 2K, 505 Games, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, Sega, SNK Corporation, THQ Nordic, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and of course Microsoft's own Microsoft Studios. Launch titles available will include Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16, and SoulCalibur II, while the library will encompass both native Xbox One games and backwards-compatible Xbox 360 titles.
'It’s important to us that Xbox Game Pass provides an enjoyable and seamless experience. Before the program rolls out to the broader community later this spring, we’ll be testing Xbox Game Pass with select members of the Xbox Insider Program in the Alpha Preview ring starting today with a very limited number of titles,
' Spencer explained of his company's roll-out plan. 'The titles that are available in Preview are just a small glimpse at the expansive catalogue of games that will be available when Xbox Game Pass launches this spring. Xbox Live Gold members will also be receiving exclusive access to Xbox Game Pass prior to the program launching to the broader community. We’ll have more details on timing closer to launch.
More details on the programme are available on the official microsite