Today, Microsoft announced their upcoming Xbox Game Pass subscription service. Starting in the Spring, for $9.99 a month, Xbox Game Pass will give you unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and backward compatible Xbox 360 games.
As Microsoft states, unlike Sony’s PlayStation Now subscription service, which lets you stream more than 450 Playstation 3 games to your PlayStation 4 or Windows PC, Xbox Game Pass lets you download each game for optimal performance. In fact, this is quite similar to the Xbox One’s EA Access subscription service, which costs less, but has far fewer games in its library.
Although these monthly subscriptions definitely start to add up, it’s hard to argue with the potential value some of these bring, particularly since you can pretty much forgo buying new retail games with a combination of one or more of these and the “free” monthly games you get for having a base online console subscription.
I think this highlights more than ever that Nintendo really should do what everyone has been calling for for years (like they finally did with the NES Mini) and introduce a subscription-based Virtual Console service (at minimum). The Switch would have been the perfect platform for that, particularly since they really need to make a huge splash this time. Maybe Microsoft’s actions here will inspire Nintendo to response in kind.