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E3 Microsoft Xbox Game Pass: have we arrived?


Regular Xbox Enthusiast readers will know I‘ve gone on a journey with Xbox Game Pass this year. After beginning the year as a skeptic, I have become a champion for the subscription. I will also take a moment to clear something up: I am in no way sponsored or being paid by Microsoft for my opinions. I pay for my own membership. During my last segment on Xbox Game Pass, I lamented that the pricing was wrong. At the time my feelings were very strong, and I was quite critical of the service. 

E3 2019

During Sunday night’s Microsoft event at E3 fans were given new details surrounding the latest Xbox Game Pass features. The presentation as one might expect, went on to reveal new Game Pass titles. Of the properties being added to the plan the inclusion of a relatively new title: Metro Exodus was quite interesting within the Game Pass Line. As the game released less than 4 months ago its inclusion might signal access to new games faster on Game Pass. But this was not the most impressive part of the announcement. 

The Big Announcement

During their presentation, Microsoft took time to address their newest addition to the Game Pass Subscription lineup: Game Pass Ultimate. As previously mentioned in my last piece, I was highly skeptical of the price point. At that time the £14.99, or essentially the exact price of Live Gold + Game Pass, made absolutely zero sense. However. When the announcement was made that Xbox Game Pass for PC was rolling out as the final ingredient of the Game Pass Ultimate cocktail I was floored. Microsoft must have known that alone a combined subscription would not gather the numbers they require. This might truly be a game changer.

What is included?

Microsoft Game Pass Ultimate will now include the Xbox Live Gold subscription, the Xbox Game Pass library of games for Xbox One, and now the Xbox Game Pass for PC library. Similar to its console cousin the Game Pass for PC library aims to include over 100 games including titles like Forza Horizon 4Halo and manymany others. Microsoft is now attempting to move its gaming subscription model towards the gaming Godfather: the Personal Computer. The potential value of this is pretty clear. If Microsoft can corner the PC market, they may well hold a substantial amount of power over the course of the next console generation. 

So you may be asking why I would convert my existing memberships to include this service. I even was asking that very question myself Sunday evening. Wouldn’t I technically be paying twice for the service? Andrew Gonzalez was quick to point out that Microsoft had this covered and I was mistaken. 

I already have Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold. How do I switch to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?
On Xbox One, get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in Store > Memberships. Online, go to Xbox Game Pass. Your purchase of Game Pass Ultimate will automatically convert any outstanding time on your subscriptions to Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold into time for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at a pre-set conversion ratio.

What could the downside be?

Thinking critically the downside is pretty clear for me: Gaming Fatigue. At some pointyou reach a stage where you have too many games to play. While this may seem like a luxury to some, it can be quite crippling for others. Too much choice is not always a good thing. If you prefer to play all of your games on a console the additional perk of computer games might not appeal to you. Likewise, if most of your gaming hours are spent on PC moving to a console may seem pointless to you. 

Game Pass Ultimate is for those who live in this middle space. The PC grey area. Those who dabble in both and enjoy titles on each of the respective platforms. As with Xbox games, PC titles can get expensive quick. But if you happen to prefer games within the partnerships Microsoft is fostering, Game Pass Ultimate may now perfect for you. Time will certainly tell whether this model will be successful but it certainly appears promising. 

Allen H. Mowers
Allen works professionally in photography, cinematography, and marketing. As a lifelong camera junkie, he channels his creative and technical energy into the craft of photography, both in digital and analog processes.He also loves playing games of all sorts, shapes, and play styles. Most days when he's not doing photo related things he can be found playing D&DDiablo IIIBattlefield 1, or something retro. He also is a co-host and producer on the Min/Max Podcast.

Come on Nintendo, sharing goes both ways

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