In a news release this morning, Microsoft confirmed that its rumored upcoming streaming service for Xbox One is in fact a reality. Fittingly entitled Xbox Game Pass, the service will launch with a library of over 100 games, allow for downloading as well as discounted purchasing, and add new titles to its catalog every month.
Any all-you-can-eat membership service, be it streaming or downloads, is only as good as the games it provides. Regarding both the announcement of Xbox Game Pass and planned or already-confirmed support from publishers, Microsoft had the following to say.
With great games from top industry publishers such as 2K, 505 Games, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, SEGA, SNK CORPORATION, THQ Nordic GmbH, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft Studios, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and you will always find something exciting to play across a variety of genres. Some of the fan-favorite titles coming to Xbox Game Pass when it launches to the broader Xbox community later this spring include Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16 and SoulCalibur II.
While the games listed comprise a respectable starting-point, it's the confirmed publishers onboard that offer more promise as the service grows and matures. The good news is that Xbox Game Pass won't break the bank; it's pricing is, though not extremely cheap, quite competitive at $9.99 per month.
Notably, Xbox Game Pass allows for the download and "discovery" of full-on Xbox One games as well as Xbox 360 titles – it isn't solely an old-school streaming service or bargain-bin collection. It's particularly interesting to compare it to Sony's offering, which straddles its Now streaming service and the standard PlayStation Plus membership. Meanwhile, Microsoft is now offering it's Game Pass downloading service, which presumably works in tandem with Xbox Live.
Regardless of further details that will inevitably come to light, Microsoft does intend to test the service before a full-scale launch. Select members of the Xbox Insider Program will be chosen for an "Alpha Preview" starting today, which will offer a "small glimpse at the expansive catalog of games."
Microsoft intends to launch Xbox Game Pass in the Spring, with more details forthcoming closer to launch.