The Xbox and Bethesda conference was recently held at E3 2021. This big publisher behind The Elder Scrolls, DOOM Y Wolfenstein it was recently acquired by the Redmond brand and exclusive games began to be revealed for the first time. And not only exclusive titles, but games that will arrive from their launch to Game pass. In fact, their main goal was to nurture this controversial service.
Right now there are more than 300 titles in the service that can be played on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series or mobile. This same year they are integrated into the service from day Psychonauts 2, Age of Empires IV, Halo Infinite, Back 4 Blood, Forza Horizon 5, Hades, Among Us and more
And if that were not enough, in the future they come The Outer Worlds 2, Starfield, Contraband Y Redfall, to name a few.
What’s more, although we have not seen them in this conference, they will also be added to the catalog. Perfect Dark, Fable, Hellblade II and thus practically everything that Microsoft and its more than 20 exclusive studios launch.
I have been commenting on this on my social networks and although most of the players are very happy with this strategy, another of the most common feelings is disbelief and, incredibly, rejection.
The funny thing about all this is that Xbox Game Pass was launched since 2017 and the brand announced since 2018 that all Xbox studio games would arrive on Game Pass from day one. Since then Xbox is betting everything on the service.
However, most of the audience is just realizing how strong this proposal is for a simple reason: There are hardly any first party titles that are really strong … and even games from some external developers too.
Sure, we already had Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Ori and the Will of the Wisps Y Forza Horizon 4 since its launch, but the game that really got a lot of Game Pass bought was Gears 5. And many more are coming.
Now, what are the implications behind the fact that as a brand you offer your entire first party catalog and also get other external games from day one for $ 150 Mexican pesos per month? 10 pesos if it is in promotion.
We are talking about what a launch game costs you on another console, on Xbox you can buy a whole year of the service.
What’s the trick?
Is being a gamer a privilege?
Several of the Game Pass complaints that I read on social media were based on the idea that they felt they didn’t appreciate playing a title if it didn’t cost them enough. And this is very real when we realize that video games for years have been a status symbol.
It is not enough to play it or even finish it: some ‘hardcore’ players see value in having the most limited, special, expensive edition and with the blessing of their favorite developer because few can have it. What’s more, collecting closed games is very common.
However, the market is changing by leaps and bounds, especially in our region. We are in Latin America, a region where sometimes you can’t buy a game because you need to eat or pay the rent.
For years there have been two types of players in Latin America: those who can afford them and those who cannot. And both are totally valid and have the right to be entertained.
Those who could not pay them only had to resort to piracy or play a couple of games in the machines. Today several companies have understood the region and have given what was most needed: options for almost any budget.
And the previous assertion is more real than ever with the entry of Game Pass to mobiles and the interest of Xbox in finding ways for players to be there even without a console in between.
Currently several of the most successful companies in the region are there for their understanding of this point. There we have Garena, Riot and Tencent. Moreover, even in Activision they have Latin America as one of their most lucrative with Call of Duty: Mobile.
Several of the players who could have paid 10 pesos for a pirated title for their chip console a few years ago, can now spend it on a cosmetic item or a month in Game Pass promotion.
There is not little interest in the region for video games, they simply did not all have the same opportunities
And my physical games?
Others answered me that they preferred to have physical games or buy them digital because that way they do not leave the service.
On the one hand, Game Pass has a business model similar to streaming services: the catalog rotates, but the exclusive options that they create themselves stay there.
Also the truth is that Game Pass is an option, not an obligation. The best thing about the Xbox proposal is that it does not eliminate the ability to purchase the physical game and not contract Game Pass. It is also totally valid.
Will Game Pass really thunder studios?
Now, another very common comment is: how can this be profitable? Won’t you blast your studios?
Part of Amazon’s success is due to the fact that it has a low income per customer, but they bet everything on having volume.
From the above, we can see that Xbox is not really reinventing the wheel: Amazon and streaming services are already doing something similar. Xbox is using these types of models and taking them to video games: an industry that for many years has focused on the wealthiest markets.
Additionally, and to understand Game Pass a little more, we spoke with Edgar Hernández, Xbox Category Manager. Although he did not reveal exact figures for the region, he did mention that last year there were 10 million Game Pass subscriptions and this year there are already 18 million, this globally.
We are talking about 80% growth in just a few months.
‘Economic barriers to entering the world of gaming were eliminated. We’ve had a lot of new users coming for Game Pass’, specific.
In addition, he mentioned that they have had good experiences with external studios that enter Game Pass, since video games not only monetize with an entry price, but now there are microtransactions and expansions.
‘What we have seen is that Game Pass has been very good for developers because it has increased their user base so much.
As a result of adding EA Access to Game Pass Ultimate, EA noticed that hours played increased by 200%. This is great for developers, because with a larger user base there are more opportunities for them to get season passes or game add-ons.
As we grow those bases, the studios also get a bigger share of resources’Edgar Hernández explained.
So far, Game Pass is such a novel bargain in this industry that it seems natural that there is skepticism, but, in the end, what really corresponds to us gamers is to enjoy what they offer us, recommend the service and, if possible , even support our favorite game by acquiring expansions or cosmetic items.
Video games should be for everyone and options like Game Pass remind us that we all have the right to play, even if we do not have the money to buy a game at launch.