Between Outriders and MLB The Show 21, Xbox Game Pass is crushing it

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Kishi
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Kishi (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Games

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

I'm always skeptical of Xbox as a gaming brand. A lot of aspects of its structure, like Xbox Live Gold (which is now part of "Xbox Network"), seem like pretty transparent ploys to separate customers from their money without offering any real value—a view Microsoft occasionally tacitly admits to and agrees with. So when Microsoft announced Xbox Game Pass back in 2017, I wasn't in any hurry to give the company my money.

Fast-forward to now, and every single month brings more and more reasons to have a Game Pass subscription. This month's reasons are MLB The Show 21 and Outriders. Both are $69.99 titles on current-gen consoles ($59.99 on last-gen), and yet, you can get day-one access to both for $15 per month on Game Pass.

The insanity of these two games being on Game Pass can't be understated. Outriders is a third-party Square Enix game, and seeing third-party titles hit a subscription service that isn't theirs on day one is rare. On the other side of the fence is MLB The Show 21, a game developed by Microsoft's primary gaming competition: Sony. One of Sony's first-party games is coming to its competitor's subscription service on day one at a price cheaper than on its own console.

Outriders Coop

Source: Square Enix (Image credit: Source: Square Enix)

Both of these games arriving on Game Pass make sense in some way from Square Enix's and Sony's perspectives. For Square Enix, the company likely remembers what happened to the playerbase for Marvel's Avengers and knows Game Pass is an easy way to avoid that situation again while earning a nice bit of coin from Microsoft. And for MLB The Show 21: Sony's introducing a new audience to its first-party offerings and probably collecting quite a bit of money in the process. Both are profitable publicity moves.

But though Sony and Square Enix might get value out of Game Pass, the service is most certainly getting the lion's share of benefits by further cementing itself as the one-stop-shop for gamers of all flavors to congregate and spend money.

Xbox Game Pass: too big to beat

Mlb The Show

Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

The service's value is, even to one-time skeptics like me, undeniable. So many hundreds of games flow in and out of Game Pass—much like movies and TV shows do with Netflix—that it's impossible to highlight the best of the batch since the selection is ever-changing and ever-growing. Recent Game Pass partnerships with EA Play only serve to make a monstrously huge library that much bigger.

The immensity of the Xbox Game Pass collection isn't its biggest selling point, either. Rather, it's the number of relevant titles available. Microsoft isn't hawking shovelware—it's offering all of its first-party AAA titles on day one and now, as we're seeing, even some third-party titles on their launch days.

If you're not sold on Game Pass because you like to own permanent licenses to your games and aren't a fan of renting, consider that Microsoft routinely has Xbox Game Pass 14-day trial codes given out for promotions. Plus, on holidays such as Black Friday, the price of a three-month subscription often drops down to a single dollar (yes, $1.00). If you're hesitant, imagine getting a ninety-day buffet of most major AAA games for the price of four gumballs.

I'm not here to tell you to get Game Pass, but that's mainly because I don't need to. The service is doing an excellent job of selling itself. All I hope is that Microsoft keeps the excellence coming long enough to convince me to renew that trial subscription of mine that ended a few months ago.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to

  • It's still bizarre to think PS5 players are having to buy these games full price while I get to jump in day one on Xbox with a subscription I'm already paying for at no extra cost
  • "I'm not here to tell you to get Game Pass, but that's mainly because I don't need to." But that is exactly what the ad is. LOL "But though Sony and Square Enix might get value out of Game Pass, the service is most certainly getting the lion's share of benefits by further cementing itself as the one-stop-shop for gamers of all flavors to congregate and spend money." Sony already has its own service, why would there be a service on top of a service? Sony can't put PS Now on Xbox. LOL For the record, I don't see these services really working out, just like all the other services that came before them. The irony is Square Enix actually shutdown their streaming service about 5 years ago, although that is only one part of GP. LOL Most people are not going to get value out of something like GP, as they are lucky to complete 1 or 2 games a year. For a whale, sure, but the normal user.... no way... games are very cheap after the first 3-6 months after release. So, for say $90, you can buy say 3-6 older games/used and 1 new one.... and they are than yours forever. There was value in Groove Music.... they were doing the buy 1 month get 6 months free at the end.... they still shut it down before people could even use the 6 months free part. LOL
  • I don't know a single person that actually pays the monthly charge for game pass ultimate though. Hell, I've only spent about 40 bucks Australian on Game Pass since it's inception and I've had it for years.
  • I find it amusing that people somehow seem to assume that subscribing to GamePass precludes permanently purchasing any more games? I don't know where the logic comes from really. I subscribe to GP and still buy a TON of games in addition. They are certainly not mutually exclusive. Game Pass is added value, like any other subscription. Not a replacement for a customer that wishes to own a game. Think of it as a 'full' demo of games. Why do you think people collect Movies? Music? Games? Although they've already watched/played them before? Actually especially after watching/playing them? Nearly every movie or music album or book in my collection was purchased AFTER enjoying them - before owning them. Same with Game Pass. Many games that leave which I enjoyed I end up buying to own. Those I didn't enjoy are left alone, but at least I got to try them. It's a win-win situation. People that want to own games will do so in addition to Game Pass. Those that only want to enjoy games without ever owning any have a good deal especially if a solid collection of titles remain available which Xbox definitely seems bent on delivering.
  • Most gamers are absolutely completing more than 2 games a year. You're hilariously out of touch.
  • 180 a year for ultimate is 3 full price games. Before Gamepass I bought 8-10 a year. So I am saving money. But getting Outriders and MLB is a good win for Microsoft
  • you bought a $400-500 console and you only play 1-2 games a year???
  • Wherever there is a positive article about Microsoft, Daisy m swoops in to throw shade to downplay. She/he's a certified troll....
  • That explains PS4/5's low software attach rate.
    Some Japanese buy PS4 ONLY for Dragon Quest, some buy it for nothing buy Monster Hunter.
  • the Japanese only buy the Switch. PS5 sales are pitiful there. It's just too big and too Western-centric.
  • To my surprise the biggest advantage of GP isn't its great value proposition but that now I discover a lot of games which I really enyoy. Otherwise I would never have bothered to buy those games.
  • Yes, this is what the poster above missed about the Game Pass model. Trying games and finding something you really like, that wasn't even on your radar.
  • Agreed, I have discovered so many new games on there. Ones that I never would have given a shot. Maybe if developers went back to releasing demos people might actually be able to get a feel for a game before buying it.
  • Big Papa Phil flexing with his Big D@*! Energy.
  • *For console, at least.