Xbox Game Pass & Me

Like many gamers I’ve had my time with the Xbox Game Pass. Over the course of that time I’ve formed an opinion of the service which overall is a negative one. The next few paragraphs will reason things out.

When Game Pass was announced it seemed like a “Netflix of gaming”, a streaming service that showed mostly old or lesser known titles and might have a few original productions. The way I’ve used Game Pass is for those little games I might not otherwise buy, but we’re also getting day one release games which is consumer friendly, yet it puts me off buying games. Why would I buy the next big thing if I can get it on a service and beat it in less than a month? I could save £50 which sounds good until I look at my hour count on a game like Skyrim, suddenly I’ve spent nearly £500 or not had the game when I needed to scratch that itch. My desire to commit is damaged by that idea of almost renting a game. Think, even Netflix can’t have everything brand new and with huge studios joining Xbox there’s plenty going cheap that I might not commit to.

In the same way as above, it’s not just commitment but also love. Why should I get attached to something that I can delete after ten seconds with no consequences? My sister bought me the Mass Effect collection for my birthday, I played the first one and the others are waiting to be played but because I own it I will eventually do them for the love of family. For the love of money too; as a working man all money has value and to not use something bought seems wasteful, with Game Pass there’s no reason to play through and let something grow on you because the personal cost isn’t the same. The love of games, if a game doesn’t get the time it deserves it won’t grow on you. I bought some Resident Evils which all control awkwardly and after some time I’ve found that the bad controls are a lot of the charm, because I own them I’ve given them the time to grow on me and am developing a taste for the way they play.

I’m also less likely to purchase downloadable add-ons as without owning a game I won’t invest further, it just makes no sense to do so. This means I can miss out on some quality content.

As a more positive look, my not-much-of-a-gamer sister said she wanted a PS5 but as everyone knows it’s not the easiest thing to acquire. I told her she’s better off with a Series S because it’s half the price, and she can buy Game Pass. The variety of games on Game Pass would be enough to let her learn what she likes at low cost before looking at the price and power of the more expensive consoles. As a deal for new players a weaker console with many games at little cost it’s brilliant, for established gamers that have previous consoles it’s not as great as the variety isn’t such an attraction.

Games With Gold was a bonus for buying the online subscription in the past. That service has heavy been sidelined in favour of Game Pass but one or two free games for the month (sometimes not something you’d play) added value to a service that was about connecting. Hidden gems like Dungeon Defenders or hits like Dark Souls would pop up, this was cause for excitement as we didn’t know what was coming until the last few days of the month. I think Game Pass announcements have caused more disappointment than excitement given how pre-orders become pointless and with so much choice the next big thing is another on the list.

I’ll admit, I like some of what Game Pass has to offer. Carto, The Forgotten City and other games can grab my attention when I wouldn’t otherwise play them, but the damage to my love of games and Xbox acquiring studios and publishers makes me worry about how I will see games in future. Is a love of a lifetime going to become something easily tossed aside because there’s no consequences to deleting something anymore? I bought my PS4 for the exclusives but I find myself playing it more because I have more comfort buying things on it because I’m not worried I could play something ‘almost free’. I found myself curious about the PS Plus games and although I’ve always been an Xbox main, Game Pass has changed how I’m seeing the green giant.

Many of the things that put me off can be seen as good, consumer friendly things. I’m not bashing Xbox but this is the view that I’ve ended up with.

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