Microsoft today unveiled a new subscription service that gives Xbox owners another way to purchase and play games.
Called “Xbox Game Pass,” the $9.99 per month program gives gamers access to a rotating library of more than 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatible games like Halo 5: Guardians, NBA 2K16, Payday 2, and others. Available games to play, which can be downloaded to your Xbox One (this is not a streaming service), will change each month, with some new titles coming in and other cycling out.
“Game Pass,” available later this spring, also lets users purchase the games (and related add-ons) for a discount if they want to keep the games permanently.
“Xbox Game Pass is your ticket to endless play,” Xbox leader Phil Spencer wrote in a blog post.
Games from top publishers like Electronic Arts (which has a similar service in EA Access), Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard aren’t included as part of “Game Pass” — not yet, at least.
Microsoft is testing the new service with Xbox Insider Program members and Xbox Live Gold subscribers.
Sony has a similar service for Playstation 4 with PS Now, but that $100 per year program is a full-on streaming service.
As part of its quarterly earnings report posted last month, Microsoft said Xbox Live monthly active users reached a record 55 million — up 15 percent from the same quarter last year. Gaming revenue for the quarter clocked in at $3.6 billion — that’s nearly 14 percent of Microsoft’s total revenue for the quarter, which demonstrates the importance of the company’s gaming arm.
Microsoft will release a new console, Project Scorpio, this holiday season.