Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service offered by Microsoft, which can be subscribed to by all owners of Xbox consoles and Windows 10 PCs
Launched on the market in 2017, it initially clashed with the conservative nature of the average video game enthusiast, but to date, after an evolutionary path that has seen it progressively improve, the beauty of 18 million subscribers and has carved out its own space in the collective imagination as a sort of “Netflix of video games”.
Given the growing success, the entire Microsoft policy is entirely aimed at enhancing the service, which already at present can boast an incredible relationship between the value of the catalog and the asking price.
There are in fact three variants of the Pass: the specific one for Xbox consoles, sold at 9.99 euros per month, the specific one for Windows 10 PCs, at a cost of always 9.99 euros per month and finally the Ultimate version, the flower eyelet of the entire commercial proposal.
With a list price of only 12.99 euros per month, it contains the catalog of both versions plus Xbox Live Gold (which allows console users to access online multiplayer), Xcloud, the streaming alternative that offers the ” access to an additional catalog that can be used on Android devices. Finally, as if that weren’t enough, from 10 November last year it also incorporated EA Play, a similar service managed by Electronic Arts.
In the face of such a rich and varied offer, some industry newspapers have tried to calculate the actual value of the Ultimate version, based on theoretical estimates related to the retail price of both physical and digital video games, when purchased individually.
What emerged from this type of analysis is incredible.
An extraordinary value
Before proceeding further we must underline the chameleonic nature of the catalog. This is not an immutable list, the games within it are cyclically changed, with new products coming in and others coming out.
Only the productions of Microsoft itself are a constant, available since their launch on the market and forever usable through the service. All the others remain for indefinite periods of time, from a few months up to several years.
A scenario that makes it almost impossible to calculate a definitive value. However, as we said, there are those who have tried with the Ultimate version, the one that for only 12.99 euros gives us access to the console catalog, the PC catalog, Xbox Live Gold, Xcloud and EA Play.
The account is soon done: we have a total library of almost 400 titles, 260 as regards the library of the version intended for consoles which alone reaches a theoretical value that exceeds 6500 euros.
The variant for PC if taken individually instead reaches 5000 euros and we still have to consider the extra titles of Electronic Arts, which add about 1300 euros to the total value. Finally, Live Gold itself should not be underestimated, which every month gives away the equivalent of 150 euros in video games.
Mind-boggling figures that uncover the enormous savings for gamers who subscribe to the service compared to those who prefer single purchases. However, as we have said, the game library is not constant and this theoretical value is even destined to increase.
An extraordinary saving
Over the years and with the evolution of technology, the video game industry has suffered an exponential increase in development costs.
Since the second half of the 2000s, the risk factor for high-budget productions (defined as triple A) has more than doubled compared to previous generations. This is because despite the massification of the medium, the price list of video games has never increased and unlike other media, such as cinema and music, there were no alternative forms of income except retail.
The various software houses to survive have tried every type of business model, starting from the DLC up to the much hated microtransactions. However, the business risk is still too high and has pushed producers towards the recent increase in the list price of video games, now standard at 80 euros.
A significant figure, which makes services such as the ultimate game pass even more attractive.
Starting from 12.99 euros required each month, the annual subscription costs around 160 euros. Basically the cost of just two titles purchased on day one.
It is clear that the savings for the end user are something extraordinary and we must also consider the entire Microsoft policy, which has recently acquired many new development teams including the all-important Zenimax.
Within Zenimax we also find Bethesda, known for now iconic masterpieces such as the sagas of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. In the future, all the productions of these famous teams will end up in the pass catalog since their day one, ready to further increase their theoretical value.
Users will be faced with a choice that is not at all difficult: buy the title by spending 80 euros, or subscribe to be able to play it in the company of all the other 400 games in the catalog? Whichever is the best option is self-evident.
An extraordinary function
Having ascertained the convenience of the Game Pass, however, we must consider the ephemeral nature of the games within it, as they are owned only as long as the subscription is active. Many users do not like to be subject to time constraints and prefer to buy games and then play them calmly.
Also from this point of view the pass can turn into an advantage, as it takes the place of the old demo discs. Players will not only be able to try all the titles in the catalog for free, perhaps finding hidden gems or experimenting with genres that they would not have taken into consideration, but they will also be able to purchase them individually with further savings due to exclusive discounts for subscribers, on the order of 20% compared to the list price.