Ever since the Microsoft Xbox GameShow, nothing but an endless flow of rumours, leaks and confirmations to how Microsoft is going to approach this next generation has hit us. With the rise of their ever-growing GamePass service which allows players on Xbox consoles and PC users to access a large library of games, including exclusives and a lot of brand new releases. It seems their strategy this coming generation is to put their popular service on the front row and place themselves in pole position in this sector of the gaming market.
how? may you ask...
Microsoft has recently pulled both the 12-month and 24-month Xbox LIVE memberships from their market place, leaving just the 1 and 3-month options. Strongly indicating that their pay-to-play online service will now become free for everyone. The Xbox LIVE subscription has always been needed since the original Xbox release for players to play with each other in any online game, even "free to play" games such as Fortnite and Warzone. Even pulling more to this theory is the fact there has recently been a listing on 'Smyths Toys' for the highly anticipated Halo Infinite, which claimed to be Free-to-play online and Run at 120fps.
As I said, seen as they only have 1 and 3 month LIVE subscriptions available, it looks very likely that the 3-month option will also soon be removed, perhaps in preparation for the Xbox Series X console launch this fall?
It makes sense to remove the cost for this service and nudge consumers over to their Xbox GamePass service. If you still have numerous months left on your LIVE membership, I'm sure they will compensate you with the same amount of months of GamePass to cover the crossover. The new service is growing and this seems to make sense, but could there be a downside to this? I think there might be, but not one that console users will notice, let's take a look at what I'm talking about.
This is purely speculation and theory from me but let's have a quick overview of the GamePass service as it stands. The price of GamePass on consoles is currently £10.99 a month, this gives players the Xbox LIVE service and the large catalogue of games available on the new service.
On PC the GamePass is currently only £4 a month... Yeah, ONLY £4 a month, sounds fishy or introductory? Well, you don't get Xbox LIVE included (although you can play online with console players, so it kind of is included or free) the service is also stated as a 'BETA'. You also don't receive a game library the same size as the consoles version but it's constantly growing and so far all the next-gen games look set to hit PC.
Now we got the overview out of the way, let's dive into my thoughts about the service. Microsoft has recently re-branded the PC version from 'Xbox Gamepass' to simply 'GamePass' although they still show the Xbox logo.
I believe that alongside the Series X launch, the PC GamePass is going to move from BETA to full release and I wouldn't be shocked if that the £4 price tag also changed. At the end of the day, competitors already provide similar services and charge between £10 -£15 a month. With the number of games they're pushing to PC it would make sense, I've always worried that the £4 price is too low and not sustainable when you plan on bringing more £50 brand new releases. In my opinion, £10 would still be an amazing deal for this service and would be willing to pay.
Anyway, back to the consoles for a moment, £10.99 currently. Could we see that price drop to match the new PC GamePass price? or are we just going to see the £10.99 price point stay and be the new normal across both platforms for GamePass?? Who knows at this early stage.
Anyway, they're just some of my own theories, other people have their own thoughts about Microsoft's plans for us. What do you think? Should the price remain the same? Should it increase for the sake of the Developers? Leave your thoughts in the comments
UPDATE 6TH AUGUST
It appears that Microsoft has come forward and stated that they will not be stopping the Xbox LIVE subscription. We will have to keep our eyes on things as it seems odd they have stopped their 12 and 24-month subscriptions and Microsoft have been known to give misinformation on purpose, just like when they stated earlier this year that they won't be bringing back Fable, this is just going to be something that we watch play out over the coming months.