Last week Microsoft announced it was bringing its game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, over to the PC for real after years of pseudo-official workarounds. Now we know whether it’ll be worth it, courtesy of some enterprising Reddit users who discovered a live Game Pass page on the Xbox website ahead of Microsoft’s E3 press conference.
A subscription will cost $5 a month, or half the amount of the console version, during an introductory period before bumping up to $10 later. And you can get the first month for just $1. That’s a good start. And for that price, you get access to a hell of a lot of games. That’s precisely what Microsoft needed to make the service worthwhile to PC gamers, and they didn’t disappoint.
All of Microsoft’s first-party games are included (or will be included) of course—Sea of Thieves, Gears of War 4 and 5, various Halo offerings, State of Decay 2, ReCore, Halo Wars 2, Forza Horizon 4, and so on. These are less interesting though, because you’ve been able to access Microsoft’s first-party games on PC through the console version of Game Pass. (That’s the weird workaround I mentioned above.)
The third-party games Microsoft’s signed up are key to the PC Game Pass offering. It’s a long and varied list, with Prey, Wolfenstein II, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Hellblade, Metro Exodus, Vampyr, and The Surge some of the bigger games alongside PC-centric fare like Obsidian’s Tyranny and Paradox's brand new Imperator: Rome.
It’s set to be a great deal for indie fans though in particular. Game Pass on PC is packed with top-tier indie games, from recent releases like Void Bastards, Slay the Spire, Mutant Year Zero, and Wargroove to older-ish titles like Opus Magnum, Into the Breach, and Hollow Knight, and Thimbleweed Park. There are even a few classics if you’ve yet to get around to them, like Superhot, Hotline Miami, and Fez.
For $5 a month? That’s very solid. I’d love to see more recent big-budget offerings in the future of course, like the console version of Game Pass, but that’s probably reliant on publishers making their games available on the Windows 10 Store first, to say nothing of actually partnering with Microsoft. I’ll be curious what it looks like a year or two from now, as games are slowly added and Microsoft rolls out its Project xCloud streaming service.
As for that latter bit? Expect to hear more about Project xCloud during Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference, as well as Microsoft’s next-gen console plans—and probably some games as well. We’ll keep you updated as part of our E3 2019 coverage this week.