2-6 Xbox Game Pass: A Buffet of Games

Games as services is not something I am quite fond of, but it seems to be the future. Lately it seems, all you have to do is to blink and you’ll discover a game developer announcing an exclusive launcher for their flagship games.

Whether it’s Rockstar with their announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2 or Ubisoft with the latest Assassin’s Creed. If you want to buy a game, you have to install their launcher and live inside of their ecosystem. And we know that they’re going to offer all kinds of lootboxes (surprise-mechanics) and additional DLC that are exclusive to their platform.

I hate that I currently have 7 launcher/platforms on my PC:

  • Steam
  • Origin
  • Uplay
  • Epic Game Store
  • GoG
  • Microsoft Xbox
  • Battle.net

And Google Stadia is around the corner (I am eagerly awaiting this to fail).

The only shining bit of light I can see is how Microsoft has approached this trend of games as a service with their Xbox Game Pass.

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass

For about $6/month I can have unlimited access to a gallery of games that I am able to immediately download to my PC. I’m not streaming them, so I do not have to fuss with latency or connection speeds. And I’m not paying full price for a game I will lose interest with or does not run well on my aging graphics card (GTX 950).

I wanted to play the new Obsidian game, Outer Worlds, but I also didn’t want to drop $60, so I started my free trial and I have to say, I’m quite pleased with this decision and I’m going to keep my subscription active.

The only small annoyance I have is that the Xbox Game Pass app from the Windows Store is a bit sluggish at times, but it’s also a beta app that will likely receive more updates as the service develops. It’s still only a few months into this being available for PC, so I’m not too worried. It’s a very small thing.

If you’re looking for a convenient way to play games on your PC at a fairly affordable cost, you should take advantage of the $1 first month trial and see if it’s right for you.

1-9 Epic Game Store: Steaming Mad

I don’t have any skin in the game. I’m not some loyalist when it comes to video games & gaming. PC, console, hand-helds, Steam, GOG, Epic Game Store, Battlenet, uPlay, like it doesn’t really matter. I use all of these launchers and platforms.

I’m not happy about the fact that games as a service is becoming a thing, that soon we’ll be drowning in gaming subscriptions where we no longer own the games we’ve purchased but simply license them out. I hate that this will also allow gaming companies to just remove them from your library at will. Apple does this with media that they have lost the rights to. If you purchase a film and Apple loses the rights to sell that film, they’ll remove it from your iTunes library the next time you sync, a small detail in their TOS.

Getting back to the topic at hand. I don’t particularly hate that Epic Game Store is getting exclusives prior to other platforms. It’s more of an annoyance. And while the EGS is not particularly robust with quality of life features, neither was Steam when it first started out. Which is something people forget.

I will also admit, I am enjoying how the EGS is giving away two free games every few weeks. There have been some wonderful games that are now available to me at no cost. It’s a nice gesture and I don’t mind taking advantage of it.

Competition is good for the market and I’m glad to see someone applying pressure to Steam. That being said, I don’t see EGS are setting themselves up as a straight up alternative. The trend has been for gaming companies to developer their own bespoke launchers and storefronts. We’re not going to see more competition, we’re going to see more fragmentation.