Microsoft’s own take on the ‘Netflix for video games’ concept, Xbox Game Pass, is now officially up and running. In exchange for a $9.99 monthly fee, the service offers up a growing library of over 100 Xbox One and backward compatible Xbox 360 titles to Xbox One users.
But unlike Netflix and other takes on the subscription-based rental service, Xbox Game Pass forgoes streaming its games and instead lets subscribers download games directly to their consoles, with the option to purchase every game in the catalog at a discounted price.
While Xbox Game Pass no doubt offers developers with games on the service an appealing way to reinvigorate interest in back catalog titles, Xbox head Phil Spencer also hopes that the subscription service could lead to a major shift in how some games are developed.
Following the original Xbox Game Pass reveal earlier this year, Spencer noted that the alternative take on the episodic game model provided by subscription-based services could potentially be the key to unlocking HBO-level storytelling power in video games.
"The storytelling ability in TV today is really high, and I think it’s because of the business model," Spencer told the Guardian. "I hope as an industry we can think about the same. [Subscription services] might spur new story-based games coming to market because there’s a new business model to help support their monetization."