In case you need a break from the endless Oscar news and the Amazon outage, I’m here to distract you. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced a new subscription service for Xbox called Xbox Game Pass. For $9.99 a month, gamers can download over 100 Xbox games and backwards-compatible titles, with discounts if you decide to keep them.
It’s not exactly the same as streaming services like Netflix. You guys know that when the internet gets wonky, streaming content can be sketchy. It’s one thing to have to restart “Friends” where you left off. It’s quite another to be just about to beat the boss and have the game crash on you. Downloading removes this otherwise fatal flaw.
In discussing the service with my better half, one of the things that came up was how much more access this will give us to games. Let’s be honest: Games are freaking expensive. Now, I have friends who are game designers, so I know how much work goes into making one. It’s just that, as an average person making an average salary, there are only so many games I’m going to shell out cash for. In a way, it’s a disservice to some of the smaller, independent games. I just can’t afford to give them a chance when I don’t have extra cash lying around.
In a small way, used games gave us some freedom to pick up popular titles for a lot less. We could trade stuff in and try new things — but still, you’re likely going to go for the games that you’ve heard about, rather than try something new.
With a monthly download service, you can play whatever you want. Look, I love the big titles. I do! It’s just that, if gamers en masse have a chance to check out games that maybe don’t have the same kind of advertising budget that the larger ones do, we might get more of those!
Gaming can get into a rut. We’ve got first-person shooters, RPGs, racing games, etc. Most of those, despite a few standouts, feel a lot alike. I’m really hoping this service, if it does well, will give indie games a chance to shine and developers will see that people want them.
I’d love to hear from you about this. Do you like the idea of Xbox’s new service? Are you a fan of indie games? Tweet me @JennaBusch and let me know!