Microsoft has been touting Xbox Game Pass a lot recently, but this is a company which has blown a lot of hot steam in the past about various ‘innovative features’, only for them to evaporate into the air, leaving us wondering what all the fuss was about in the first place.
This time it feels different though. While services such as Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Plus seem to be taking a back seat recently, with Games with Gold and the free games offering from PlayStation feeling a little underwhelming, Xbox Game Pass continues to grow from strength to strength. Not only does it offer first party titles at launch, but also games from smaller studios. In fact a look through the current catalogue shows a lot of big name games in there too, which really didn’t release all that long ago and if you own a subscription to Xbox Game Pass, you can play all of these for free.
Let’s take a look at just some of the recently added titles as an example, which I’ve listed below:
- Metro Exodus
- Batman: Arkham Knight
- Borderlands 2
- Borderlands The Pre-Sequel
- Hollow Knight
- Shenmue I & II
- Supermarket Shriek
- Old Man’s Journey
- Brothers A Tale of Two Sons
- The Surge
These are a small handful of the 38 games which have recently been added. As you can see from the list above, Metro Exodus is there, which only released in February, as is Riverbond, which is a brand new title. You can also get hands on with The Surge, ahead of its sequel and if you fancy trying out Borderlands or the Shenmue series, then knock yourself out.
Looking deeper into the catalogue is both a surprising and exciting experience. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Hellblade, Darksiders I & II, Metro Redux, Minecraft, Prey, Quantum Break, Sea of Thieves, Vampyr, Wolfenstein The New Order & The New Colossus, Sunset Overdrive, Super Lucky’s Tale, PES 2019 and many more quality titles currently grace the catalogue and with more being added each month, it is hard not to be impressed.
Perhaps the only downfall is that these are mostly the standard editions of the games, so you will need to pay for any extra DLCs, however this seems a small price to pay, as surely if you love the game so much that you want to play the DLC, then you’ll likely be happy to pay for it anyway.
With the release of Ultimate Game Pass, which incorporates Xbox LIVE and Game Pass into one, as well as giving you access to Xbox Game Pass on PC, all for the price of £14.99 a month, it’s pretty hard to argue with the value on offer here.
One thing I do feel is a little unfair is that Xbox Game Pass seems to get all the attention, perhaps rightly so because it is an amazing service. But what about the competition? I.e the much overlooked PlayStation Now?
The thing about PlayStation Now is that it has a bad rep for some reason. Perhaps it’s because the service started out on a bad foot, with streaming the only option. I have to admit it has been a while since I checked it for myself, so when I did in order to write this article, I was very surprised.
Not only does PlayStation Now allow for streaming of games, but it also allows for PS4 downloads, putting it on a par with Xbox Game Pass. In addition, PlayStation Now has over 600 games in its catalogue, so at least five times as many as Microsoft’s service.
Having a look at PlayStation Now, there seems to be plenty of titles to choose from including PlayStation Hits such as Bloodborne, Shadow of Mordor, Batman: Arkham Knight, Killzone: Shadowfall, Beyond: Two Souls, The Last of Us, Uncharted 3, Limbo, Gravity Rush: Remastered, Mortal Kombat X, Prey, Metal Gear Solid, Darksiders I & II (remastered), Dishonored and many, many more, covering from PS2 all the way through to PS4, although like I say, only the PS4 games are downloadable, so if you want to play the others you’ll need to stream them.
PlayStation Now costs £12.99 a month and does not include a PlayStation Plus membership, so works out slightly more expensive in you want both (although it has been pointed out to us you don’t need PlayStation Plus to play online with PlayStation Now – Thanks Andrew). Then there is the fact you don’t get first party games on day one and in fact, some of the older first party games still seem to be missing from the list now. If you take this into account then it seems Xbox Game Pass comes out on top, although PlayStation Now is still a very impressive offering and it does seem to me when it comes to third party games (both from large publishers and indies) on each respective service, Xbox and PlayStation are pretty much on par, although at this time PlayStation Now has a much larger offering.
Sony has already said it will revamp PlayStation Now later this year, so perhaps the price and what games are on the service will be part of this.
So it seems both services have advantages and disadvantages. Xbox Game Pass has access to brand new first party titles and in some cases newer third party titles, while PlayStation Now has a much larger choice of games overall, and is slightly more expensive at the same time.
Either way, If you do decide to opt for one of these services then you’ll certainly have a huge choice of games to play for the rest of the year and beyond, especially since both add new games every month (although take into account some are taken away on occasion too).