The Netflix like Xbox Game Pass is now live via Early Access for Gold Members, with a general release following June 1 when everyone can get involved.
Starting today Xbox Live Gold members can start a 14-day free trial to try out the service before signing up for $9.99/£7.99 a month. I spoke to Xbox CMO Mike Nichols to find out exactly what you're getting for the money.
There's over 100 games available
As you'd hope with 100 Xbox One and backward compatible Xbox 360 games on offer, there's a lot of options. There's big name stuff like Halo 5, all three Bioshocks, Gears of War 1-3, Gears Ultimate, NBA 2K16, XCOM: Enemy Within, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, Mad Max, and Payday 2.
More family friendly things include Banjo-Kazooie, LEGO Batman, Terraria and Viva Pinata. And there are more retro things like Mega Man Legacy Collection, Resident Evil 0, Streets of Rage, Perfect Dark Zero and Pac-Man Championship Edition.
"When you see the full list of over a 100 you’ll see there’s really something for everybody to play," explains Nichols. "So if you’re a family and you have different people with different tastes this is going to be a really effective way to always have something to play at home."
You could download EVERYTHING (if you had the space)
This isn't a streaming service, you "download and play those games at full fidelity," explains Nichols. So there's no worry about "potentially be[ing] victim to any network issue." You could also download the entire library if you had a big enough Xbox One hard drive. "Yes, so long as you have the appropriate hard drive to support, you can download all the games from the Xbox Game Pass catalog," says Nichols, "because there’s no limit to the number of games you can download."
There's no 'always online' requirement to play Game Pass games
"Once a game is downloaded from the Xbox Game Pass catalog to your Xbox One, you can play the game offline so there’s no 'always-online requirement,'" Nichols tells me. So you won't have to worry about dodgy connections kicking you out while playing.
There will be new Game Pass games each month
While the number and amount of games "will vary month to month" you can expect something new regularly. "Xbox Game Pass is meant to give fans choice with the ability to discover new games each month," says Nichols. "To do this, the team is constantly re-evaluating the titles in the catalog based on the needs of our fans". Things that have previously been removed could always return though, depending on demand.
If you like a Game Pass game you can buy it at a discount
While reductions haven't been specified as yet, Nichols says, "Xbox Game Pass members can purchase all Xbox One games in the catalog – and related add-ons – at an exclusive discount, allowing you to make them part of your permanent library.
Games Pass is hoping to get as many games as possible
When I spoke to Nichols about 3rd party games and publishers like EA that already have its own subscription services, he told me that the Xbox team will "work with our publishing partners to deliver the best-possible gaming experiences." However, he did admit that, "we realise we won’t be able to include every game from every publisher, but we’re always listening to fan feedback when we consider what titles to add to our Xbox Game Pass library."
How those games will be selected depends on "a combination of lots of different things" according to Nichols. "Some of it is us looking at games that have been really highly rated and well liked by broad groups of people. We’re starting off with those games that have been released and were very popular."
We might see new releases on Game Pass one day (but not just yet)
On the potential of getting day one releases with Game Pass, Nichols says, "how things evolve over time, we’ll see. We pride ourselves on listening to customers, and trying to see which things are working and how do they respond to new ideas. So we’ll see how things evolve over time but to start off with our focus is on providing the nice package of games that have been available but people might not have been able to take advantage of them up until this point."