It might be time for an ‘Xbox Game Pass Lite’

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central

We already have Xbox Game Pass for console, for PC and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Do we really need more? Here’s why I think the answer is Yes!

Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s great Netflix-like game service that continues to make headlines. Microsoft recently acquired the subsidiary studios of Bethesda and ZeniMax, powering Game Pass with more than 20 new games. Additionally, Microsoft recently revealed that Outriders is launching Day One on the service, marking the first time for a major third-party AAA game.

Xbox Game Pass is at the forefront of Microsoft’s grand ambition to reach the world’s 2-3 billion gamers, filling its service with some of the best Xbox games out there. To achieve this, Microsoft is committed to new markets led by Xbox Game Pass for PC, as well as Xbox Game Pass on mobile phones, and soon, the web. It’s with that in mind that I wonder if it’s time for a dedicated cloud version for Xbox Game Pass, called “Xbox Game Pass Lite” or “Xbox Game Pass Go,” which could also circumvent some potential issues with the policies of the game. competitor store.

Best of the best

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Xbox Game Pass top tier

More than two hundred games. A monthly fee. Console, PC and cloud. What are you waiting for?

Entrance to cloud games

Ipega Android Xcloud Game Controller

Source: Windows Central

Right now, to get access to Xbox Game Pass for cloud gaming, you need to purchase at the most expensive tier – Game Pass Ultimate. I’ve always felt that this is a bit strange if it is supposedly designed to be the most accessible format for the service. With Game Pass Ultimate, you also get Console Game Pass and PC Game Pass, but I often wonder if players who are first into the cloud would be interested in using these services or not.

It could be that the $ 15 per month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier is the best and most cost-effective way to finance the service, given the huge investment to build the server infrastructure. However, do potential users look at Xbox Game Pass for PC and consoles in Game Pass Ultimate and think “well, I don’t have an Xbox or gaming PC, so why would I subscribe to Ultimate just to get the cloud feature? In that sense, a cheaper, cloud-only option for Xbox Game Pass would be a good way to market the service to new users who might not necessarily be interested in buying an Xbox console or gaming PC.

Razer Kishi Wide

Source: Windows Central

A cheaper, cloud-only “Xbox Game Pass Go” could also be an interesting option for families. I hear that Microsoft is exploring some kind of “family plan” for Xbox Game Pass, but there are hurdles to overcome with third-party publishers to that end. If you have a younger brother or son, getting a cheaper subscription to give them access to cross-platform games like Minecraft Dungeons could be a cost-effective alternative while we wait for a full-fledged family plan option.

In fact, games published by third parties create a number of problems.

An option for third-party stores


Source: Windows Central

The Google Play Store and the iOS App Store have strict rules on how their partners can deliver games, and there is a potential conflict for third parties in the distribution of games. Google, iOS, and others prefer you to play through their storefront. Apple is known for blocking competing streaming services, arbitrarily enforcing game rules it doesn’t enforce for music or entertainment.

Apple wants to block xCloud and similar services anticompetitively, perhaps driven by fear of missing another paradigm shift similar to the one they lost to Spotify and Netflix.

Microsoft would also put Xbox Game Pass on the PlayStation and Nintendo Switch consoles, if given the opportunity.

Apple’s app store has already signaled that it wants Microsoft to sell all games on Xbox Game Pass as a separate entity, despite not requiring Netflix or Spotify to do the same for content on their respective platforms. Google Play also has rules on how in-app purchases can be made through its store, limiting the types of games that can be distributed through Xbox Game Pass on Android.

I feel like Microsoft would put Xbox Game Pass on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch consoles as well, if given the chance. When Xbox Director Phil Spencer was on stage discussing the Bethesda acquisition, he very carefully pointed out that these were platforms that support Xbox Game Pass, not necessarily Windows PCs and Xbox consoles. There is a conflict there for Sony and Nintendo, as naturally they would prefer it if you were playing its games sold through its shop windows. The likelihood of PlayStation accepting Xbox Game Pass is quite small, but given that the Nintendo Switch has a large performance delta versus PC and Xbox, you could see the possibility of a smaller, Xbox-focused version of Game in the cloud. . Pass for Nintendo Switch that would not necessarily compete directly with the Nintendo store.

A smaller library of games that are wholly owned by Microsoft would reduce conflict with other stores, potentially allow Microsoft to use those stores’ payment systems for in-app purchases and allow them to deliver their own games to platforms that they might not. be powerful enough. to run them natively.

Absorbing Xbox Live Gold

Xbox Live sign

Source: Windows Central

Recently, people noticed that Microsoft had downplayed the “Xbox Live” brand in some aspects of the Xbox operating system. Microsoft later pointed out that while it is not completely removing the Xbox Live brand, it is decoupling it from some system features that are now just common components of owning an Xbox.

I’ve written before about my belief that Xbox Live Gold as a subscription service could go away in the future. I think one way to start a mindset change about Xbox Live Gold is maybe to incorporate it into any cloud-only “Game Pass Lite” service. Xbox Live Gold has already been a controversial topic in the community, given that Xbox Game Pass PC players do not have to pay for it to access multiplayer. And with the rise of competitive cross-platform gaming in titles like Call of Duty and Fortnite, the case for multiplayer paywalling is waning.

Doubling Xbox Live Gold into an entry-level form of Xbox Game Pass would help promote Xbox Game Pass adoption and help grow Xbox aspirations in the cloud at the same time.

More options on Xbox Game Pass, more users

Xbox Game Pass at Gamescom 2018

Source: Matt Brown / Windows Central

Xbox Game Pass is all about accessibility and ease of use. The fewer barriers your service has, the more users it will acquire. Obviously, there are profitability limitations to consider, but the fundamental barriers tend to be price and platform.

Bringing Xbox Game Pass to more platforms will increase its growth. If a cheaper version, potentially with fewer games, can elude skepticism from Apple, Nintendo, and others, it may be worth considering growing the platform even further. A cheaper variant can also serve as a gateway to higher-tier subscriptions from regular Game Pass up to Ultimate, similar to how Netflix has higher pay tiers for 4K streaming.

It could also be the case that Xbox Game Pass is already as cheap as it can be without losing tons of money. I don’t have the data to back that up, but I feel in my guts that a subscription level that is at least only in the cloud missing from the lineup right now. Either way, the future of Game Pass is intriguing.

All the games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Netflix, but for games

An endless supply of games awaits with Xbox Game Pass, which provides access to more than 200 titles on Xbox, PC, and Android devices for one low monthly payment.

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