An all-you-can-play gaming service for Xbox owners? Yep, sounds like just the sort of thing that could be worth it, and it’s coming real soon.
When this journalist was younger, video games were much different. Back in his youth, he had a Sega Genesis (a Sega Megadrive over here), and living in America, he had access to a concept that was very cool: the Sega channel.
Arriving hot on the heels of this thing called “the internet”, the Sega channel was basically a game cartridge with a cable out the back, connecting you a network to let you jump in and see a regularly updated list of games that you could play provided you were connected.
At the time, the concept was brilliant, delivering a regularly rotated set of games not unlike a buffet for your console, including exclusive games from outside the country, all for a monthly fee. But there was one catch: because the games rotated, you didn’t always get to replay the game of your choice, and so you lost out the next month.
In the next few months, however, Microsoft will launch a program that not only echoes the Sega Channel, but fixes its shortcoming.
Announced this week, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass will provide an unlimited gaming subscription to video games included as part of the program, delivering more than 100 gaming titles to Xbox One owners for $10.95 per month.
The monthly subscription is in limited mode at the moment, rolling out to select Xbox One customers at this time (“Insiders”), but when officially up later in the year, will grant access to high-end titles from the last year including “Halo 5: Guardians”, “NBA 2K16”, “Soul Calibur II”, and more.
While big games are likely on the mind of everyone joining, some of the smaller games as well as those made for the backwards compatibility Xbox 360 program on the Xbox network will also be included, and as a very good sign, streaming won’t be the way you grab them.
Instead, Microsoft will allow you to download them to your console to play provided your subscription is still in tact.
Oh, and the game won’t apparently disappear monthly, with the title list growing as time goes on. That’s something our Sega Channel didn’t do, and something we’re delighted to see roll out for modern gamers.
For the moment, if you don’t see access to the Xbox Game Pass announcement, don’t panic as it’s only in testing for Xbox Insiders. Later in the year, however, and we don’t foresee it being too much longer, access will roll out to everyone else, with $10.95 monthly getting you those games, all those games.