Xbox Game Pass in 2023 has no chill

Xbox Game Pass in 2023
(Image credit: Windows Central)

Fans of Microsoft’s innovative gaming subscription service Xbox Game Pass, lovingly refer to it as the “best deal in gaming.” With hundreds of titles currently available and legions more getting added every single month, its appeal is unambiguously evident. From industry professionals to everyday advocates, the organic growth and positive reception garnered from Xbox’s foray into the monthly subscription space has been fascinating to follow.   

While recent criticism suggests Microsoft has potentially overpromised and underdelivered on its promises to ship substantial first-party titles day-and-date in Xbox Game Pass, the passionate team has still managed to fill the gaps with compelling and noteworthy video games from development partners. Regarding critical reception, 2022 has been an outstanding year for Xbox Game Pass, and several nominees from The Game Awards 2022 shipped day one on the service. This clever and enthusiastic curation is poised to blossom further as we head into 2023.   

As part of its Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase in June, Microsoft showcased an array of noteworthy titles headed to Xbox Game Pass in the first half of next year. Compounding the impressive list of first-party and third-party titles initially revealed, supplemental games have been confirmed over the course of the last several months. As I prepare my upcoming video games calendar, it’s become clear that Xbox Game Pass will be out of control in 2023. 

Xbox Game Pass in 2023: First-party releases

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

One of the most prominent draws to Xbox Game Pass was its inclusion of first-party titles from the beginning. To continue growing the service and to counter the relatively light schedule of 2022, Microsoft aims to deliver a robust assortment of massive first-party releases in 2023. While we have yet to confirm Microsoft's entire slate for the year, we know numerous Xbox Game Studios titles are dropping in 2023.

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GameDeveloperRelease Date
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition (Console)World's EdgeJanuary 31, 2023
Minecraft LegendsMojang StudiosTBA 2023
RedfallArkane Austin TBA 2023
Forza MotorsportTurn 10 StudiosTBA 2023
Ara: History UntoldOxide GamesTBA 2023
StarfieldBethesdaTBA 2023
Age of Empires IV (Console)World's EdgeTBA 2023

Depending on release timing, Xbox is legitimately positioned to deliver on its pledge to ship one major first-party game per quarter. Coming off a light first half in 2021 and an objectively sparse 2022, the first-party situation for Xbox seems far more optimistic in 2023. If the development team is ready and can work out logistics, a Holiday 2023 release for Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 would be a fantastic way to close out a commendable year for Xbox first-party. 

Xbox Game Pass in 2023: Indie standouts

(Image credit: NEOWIZ)

There’s no denying the excitement of juggernaut releases like Forza Horizon 5 or Halo Infinite, but another incredible aspect of Xbox Game Pass lies in how it elevates indie games. From Tunic to Immortality, Xbox Game Pass has forged a reputation for fostering award-winning independent video games. While countless unannounced titles are on the horizon, 2023 is already looking stacked for indies on Xbox Game Pass.  

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GameDeveloperRelease Date
Atomic HeartMundfishFebruary 21, 2023
Amnesia: The BunkerFrictional GamesMarch 2023
Lightyear FrontierFRAME BREAKSpring 2023
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl GSC Game WorldTBA 2023
Lies of PNeowizTBA 2023
Hollow Knight: SilksongTeam CherryTBA 2023
CocoonGeometricTBA 2023
Ereban: Shadow LegacyBaby Robot GamesTBA 2023
Party Animals Recreate GamesTBA 2023
ARK 2 Studio WildcardTBA 2023
ReplacedSad Cat StudiosTBA 2023
The Texas Chain Saw MassacreGun Interactive TBA 2023
Planet of LanaWishfullyTBA 2023
RavenlokCococucumberTBA 2023
The Last Case of Benedict FoxPlot TwistTBA 2023

The sheer volume of high-profile indie releases headed to Xbox Game Pass in 2023 is staggering. Many of my most anticipated titles of the year are primed for day-one Game Pass drops on Windows PC and Xbox consoles. As we head into the coming months and more development teams establish release dates, it’s safe to say this impressive list will only become more substantial. Here’s to hoping Thirsty Suitors, Homestead Arcana, and Dungeons 4 receive 2023 launches! 

Xbox Game Pass in 2023: JRPGs and games from Japan 

(Image credit: Capcom)

Recently, I've been increasingly vocal about Xbox's relationship with Japanese developers and publishers. Fans of JRPGs, in particular, feel frustrated by the platform's inconsistent third-party support. As I've detailed in several editorials, Microsoft is aware of these shortcomings and diligently working to reestablish itself as a necessary partner for teams based in Japan. If Microsoft's slate for Xbox Game Pass in 2023 is any indication, things are definitely heading in a promising direction. 

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GameDeveloperRelease Date
Persona 3 PortableAtlusJanuary 19, 2023
Persona 4 GoldenAtlusJanuary 19, 2023
Monster Hunter RiseCapcomJanuary 20, 2023
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Team NinjaMarch 3, 2023
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle Special EditionArc System WorksSpring 2023
Guilty Gear -Strive-Arc System WorksTBA 2023
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant KingdomLevel-5TBA 2023
Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred HeroesRabbit and Bear StudiosTBA 2023

Xbox is demonstrating its commitment to growing its business in Japan by extending meaningful partnerships to renowned developers and publishers. Exceptional additions like Persona 5 Royal bolster the overall appeal of the Xbox platform for fans of JRPGs. If Microsoft continues to invest in Japanese-developed titles and leverage the appeal of Xbox Game Pass, we may be witnessing the beginning of a massive turnaround for Team Green. 

Xbox Game Pass in 2023: So much to look forward to

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Regardless of your favorite genres, Xbox Game Pass plans to provide plenty to play in 2023. Conservatively, if you plan on purchasing every game on this list, it would set you back well over $1000. For comparison, one year of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs roughly $180. With costs of living rising and budgets getting a bit tighter, the value proposition of Xbox Game Pass continues to be unmatched.   

From major first-party releases to highly anticipated indie standouts, it's impossible not to commend the curation efforts of the Xbox Game Pass team. While it's improbable that any of us will play every game that makes its way to the subscription service in 2023, it seems even less likely that subscribers won't find dozens of games to enjoy in the coming year.

Miles Dompier

Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.