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Microsoft announces new optional ‘Xbox Game Pass’ subscription service

Well this is a surprise. Microsoft has announced a subscription service for the Xbox One that’ll give gamers access to over 100 titles, for a “low monthly price” – all without Gold membership.

Xbox Game Pass

This is a pretty huge announcement. I mean, this could easily have been a major talking point at E3 or something. And yet, here we are on Tuesday afternoon on the last day of February. Not that that makes the Xbox Game Pass any less interesting. ‘Cause it’s pretty awesome, all things considered.

Basically, with this new service from Microsoft, you’ll get access to over 100 games. It’s unclear when games will drop out, though we know they will from time to time, as new games will be added on a monthly basis. Microsoft says they’re talking to “top industry publishing partners to bring a robust list of titles at launch.”

Both Xbox One and Xbox 360 games will be a part of the service too, so there should be a pretty wide selection. At the top of things, you’ll be able to play games from just about every genre too, so there should be a little something for everyone.

Once downloaded, you’ll have 30 days to play. That’s more than enough time to play through most single player games, and you’ll even have access to multiplayer. Of course, to play online you’ll need to have Gold. The kick? You don’t need it at all to join this service to play single player.

That’s right, Gold is not a requirement to buy into Xbox Game Pass, it’s needed only if you want to play online. Oh, and there’s no limit as to how many games you can download at a time. So you can fill your hard drive to capacity if you like. Honestly, that’s pretty freaking amazing.

Availability and discounts

The service will be available in 27 markets upon launch, and exclusively on the Xbox One. Microsoft says they’re still looking at additional territories as well, so probably expect that number to go up.

What happened if you want to keep a game permanently? While Microsoft isn’t mentioning 360 games (which is odd), the Xbox One games on the service can be bought in full for 20% off the cover price. So if you’re playing something and don’t want to let it go at the end of the month, you can buy it at a solid discount from the digital games store.

Likewise, “related add-ons” will be available at 10% off. Just keep in mind any discounts on this stuff will only be available while the title is in the Xbox Game Pass service. Once it drops off the roster of games, the prices return to non-member level.

As you might have suspected too, if your membership lapses or you cancel it, your games are canceled. So anything that’d be on your Xbox One (that you got via the service) will be unplayable. Though, you’ll still hang onto your saved games and your achievements (obviously), so you’re free to go buy the game and continue playing if you like.

There’s no word yet on when we might be getting more info on Xbox Game Pass, so sit tight. We’ll have more for you as Microsoft announces it, including the price and the launch date. Read more here.

About Jason Micciche

Jason's been knee deep in videogames since he was but a lad. Cutting his teeth on the pixely glory that was the Atari 2600, he's been hack'n'slashing and shoot'em'uping ever since. Mainly an FPS and action guy, Jason enjoys the occasional well crafted title from every genre.

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