Microsoft has made it clear that the future of Xbox is to move beyond the console. The company is eying an opening with Xbox Game Pass, which is now discounted to $1/€1/£1 for 3 months.
Xbox as a service
Sony has PlayStation Now, Microsoft has Xbox Game Pass, Apple has Arcade, and Google has Stadia. Several major companies now own and operate a game service that let consumers subscribe to a game bundle or stream games over the internet.
With the launch of the new console generation, Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, Microsoft in particular has been eager to accelerate the transition to game services. Microsoft has acquired Bethesda, known for The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and DOOM, and has started bundling EA Play. It is all tied to Xbox Game Pass, which also gives subscribers access to all of Microsoft's future in-house AAA games on launch day, in addition to all of the other games included already.
In FlatpanelsHD's Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 reviews, we explore how each company is using its respective game service during the transition to "next-gen".
Xbox app for Smart TVs
One of our conclusions is that Xbox Game Pass is better positioned to capitalize on the changing market dynamics than Sony's PlayStation Now. Sony has been offering game streaming/download for several years now but has been hesitant to go all-in. For example, Sony still refuses to include new AAA releases from its in-house game studios on launch day.
Also read: Review: PlayStation 5 Also read: Review: Xbox Series X
It is clear that Microsoft eyes an opening and its latest move to discount Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to $1/€1/£1 for 3 months is an attempt to race past Sony and leverage its advantage as we move into the next phase. Xbox Game Pass is a type of 'Netflix for games' and it will allow Microsoft to move beyond the console.
Microsoft has not put an end date on its campaign but the timing is strategic. The company is developing the game streaming technology required to bring Xbox Game Pass to entirely new devices and potentially millions of gamers out there. Just last month, the Xbox chief told the world to expect an Xbox app on Smart TVs "in the next 12 months".