Like it or not, we’re almost at that time of year and no, I don’t mean the big ‘C’ word either (although it’s getting towards that time as well). I am, of course, talking about the silly season. Come September the gaming calendar starts to get a little crazy and it all too quickly becomes week-after-week of big titles vying for time in your console/PC. It’s not a bad situation per se, but finding the time, and money, for all these can be very tricky. Moving away from indies just for a second, we’ve had Spider-Man swing into action and we’re on the verge of seeing Forza Horizon 4, Red Dead Redemption 2, Fallout 76, Battlefield and Call of Duty launch imminently.
But whilst we’re about to see a massive surge of new titles head our way, we’re seeing a growing back-catalogue of games being made readily available to us at the same time. The Xbox Game Pass service offered by Microsoft brings not only old, but new games as well which is something we haven’t seen before in the games industry. This subscription-based service, priced at £7.99 per month, could well be the killer blow that Microsoft needed as they now look on towards their future and inevitable One successor. That, however, depends on what you’re looking for in a console…
What do I mean by this? Well, let’s think of this from a business perspective and where Microsoft is heading over the coming years. They are clearly aiming for the Xbox to be a singular ecosystem, something where you can access any game, anywhere at any time. From their brief mention at E3 this year, it could be rather exciting if they can manage this successfully. In trying to achieve this, they can offer a complete package where you can access all your Xbox content in one place, using one system and under one (or more) subscriptions.
Now from a business perspective, this makes complete sense, but looking at it from a consumer perspective this also makes perfect sense too. Think of it this way; you’re new to gaming, or you’re introducing someone new to gaming and they want a console. You can buy one that needs you to buy games from the get-go to tide you over. Or, with an Xbox, you can buy the console and get a Game Pass subscription, and have access to a shed-load of games off the bat. With all first-party titles coming to the service too, it’s a no-brainer for anyone with an Xbox already so it can easily entice newcomers too.
Am I doing this as a means of promoting the Xbox over other consoles? No, I am far beyond such immaturity. In fact, I’m doing it as an exercise of hope and wishful thinking that this may become the future of gaming. Remote access and digital downloads are clearly the way to go moving forward, so imagine being able to turn on your Switch or PS4 where you have access to a massive catalogue of old and new games almost instantly. If this were bundled into the cost of PSN or Switch Online for example, then I’d be more than happy with that.
Whilst many may moan that most games on offer are older and don’t offer anything new, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. Looking backwards allows us to move forward, as long as the value is there.