Game pass has literally been a game changer and I’ve played so many more games I wouldn’t have looked at before. Aside from buying the occasional plane in flight simulator the console hasn’t cost me any additional money. Looking at the PS5 I can’t see why I’d pay £60+ for a game now.
I don’t subscribe to Game Pass because I don’t care about most of the games on the service, and it’s cheaper for me to just buy the ones I actually care about. I did pay for it for about a year and in that time the only game I really spent time playing was Flight Simulator, so I guess that game cost me about $180 in monthly fees. Yay…
On the other hand, if I did enjoy the games on Game Pass more, then my tone would be more, “I paid $180 and got all these games, what a deal!” so it’s definitely a matter of taste.
Perpetual vs Ephemeral Games
Much like streaming content, Game Pass encourages users to treat games as disposable. You are more likely to try things out, which is great for smaller games you might roll the dice on more than if you had to commit $30+ to them, and I do like the idea of more people experimenting with weird games.
But these games come and go from Game Pass, so you may enjoy it today, only to see it disappear next month. Annoying if you just had it on your queue to play next, but super frustrating if you were in the middle of the game and then it disappeared.
This is again a matter of opinion, but I personally like owning games, especially the games I love, so that I can play them long into the future. I recently played through Resident Evil 4, Metal Gear Solid 2, and The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker, and I was ab’e to play all of these because I owned the games from many years ago and was able to play them again with ease. No need to re-purchase them or to hope that Microsoft or Nintendo would put them in Game Pass or Nintendo Switch Online.
Also, if my financial situation ever changes, I like knowing that I can continue to play all these games I’ve accumulated over the years even if a $15/month gaming subscription is suddenly an expense I can’t afford to keep doing.
I do actually love that games on Game Pass are still able to be purchased as well, so I actually think Microsoft has a good balance here. I guess I would just say that I’m very happy to pay for individual games, even if there was a service that let me subscribe to a library that was of more interest to me.
The Good Old Days
If Game Pass appeals to you, enjoy it now because we’re definitely in “the good old days” of gaming subscriptions. 10 years ago Netflix blew us all away with offering so much content for $10/month, but today Netflix costs more and most of us are also subscribing to some combination of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+, Apple TV+, HGTV+, Showtime, AMC+, and the list goes on.
I would just say that if you’re enjoying Game Pass today, recognize that it’s such a great value because (a) it’s one of the few games in town and (b) it’s backed by Microsoft throwing billions of dollars at it to gain users.
On point A, expect to see more subscriptions cropping up over time. EA has their own that you also get with Game Pass, but don’t expect that deal to continue forever (unless Microsoft buys EA too), Ubisoft has a service, and Nintendo & Sony are doing their own things as well, so we’re already moving in that direction. Like I said at the top, I don’t personally care about most of the games on Game Pass, but that’s also the case for all streaming services; I like a few things from each, and eventually you are subscribing to 3-4 services to get what you want to play.
And on point B, Microsoft is spending an absolutely insane amount of money on Game Pass right now, and that party can’t last forever. Game Pass is already more expensive than it used to be, and as Microsoft buys more studios and includes more and more in the subscription, I’d expect the cost to start climbing. If this is going to remain a good business for developers as well, I just don’t see how things can stay where they are.
So enjoy Game Pass now! If you enjoy the lineup of games and you are saving serious cash by using it, seriously get the most out of it and appreciate that you’re most likely living through the service at its best.