Much like Sony and EA before it, Microsoft has decided it's not just content with selling games as a one-off purchase. Instead, it's doing its own subscription service that costs $10 a month. So expect that to be at least £10 a month if and when it gets launched in the UK.
Xbox Game Pass, as it's being called, is more like EA Access than PlayStation Now. That means there's no streaming involved, and users get to download games in their entirety with no usage limits. So as long as you keep your subscription active, it'll be almost as if you paid for them on the Xbox Store. Microsoft is promising over 100 Xbox One and backwards compatible Xbox 360 games, and subscribers will be offered exclusive discounts on the eligible titles (and their respective DLC) should they decide they want to properly own a copy for themselves.
Well not properly own, because it's all digital, but you know what I mean.
So far Microsoft has announced partnerships with 2K, 505 Games, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, SEGA, SNK, THQ Nordic GmbH, and Warner Bros. Naturally the first party publisher Microsoft Game Studios will be involved as well. The only launch games we know about so far are Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16 and Soul Calibur II.
You'll notice that there's no EA involvement, and I would be very surprised if that changed given how it will want people to pay £4 a month for EA Access.
Xbox Game Pass goes live today for select Xbox Insiders, and will launch in spring exclusively for Xbox Live Gold members. Thankfully Microsoft isn't locking this subscription behind another subscription, promising that Xbox Game Pass will be available to everyone. Sadly it hasn't revealed a launch window just yet. If I were to guess, I'd say it'll happen just after E3 - which would give Microsoft a nice platform to show off a bunch of new games joining the service.
There's no mention of Xbox Game Pass coming to Windows 10 as far as I can see, but given the increasing focus on PC gamers I can't imagine Microsoft isn't thinking about it. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. [Microsoft via Kotaku UK]