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
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.
|Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition (Console)||World's Edge||January 31, 2023|
|Minecraft Legends||Mojang Studios||TBA 2023|
|Redfall||Arkane Austin||TBA 2023|
|Forza Motorsport||Turn 10 Studios||TBA 2023|
|Ara: History Untold||Oxide Games||TBA 2023|
|Age of Empires IV (Console)||World's Edge||TBA 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
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.
|Atomic Heart||Mundfish||February 21, 2023|
|Amnesia: The Bunker||Frictional Games||March 2023|
|Lightyear Frontier||FRAME BREAK||Spring 2023|
|S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl||GSC Game World||TBA 2023|
|Lies of P||Neowiz||TBA 2023|
|Hollow Knight: Silksong||Team Cherry||TBA 2023|
|Ereban: Shadow Legacy||Baby Robot Games||TBA 2023|
|Party Animals||Recreate Games||TBA 2023|
|ARK 2||Studio Wildcard||TBA 2023|
|Replaced||Sad Cat Studios||TBA 2023|
|The Texas Chain Saw Massacre||Gun Interactive||TBA 2023|
|Planet of Lana||Wishfully||TBA 2023|
|The Last Case of Benedict Fox||Plot Twist||TBA 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
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.
|Persona 3 Portable||Atlus||January 19, 2023|
|Persona 4 Golden||Atlus||January 19, 2023|
|Monster Hunter Rise||Capcom||January 20, 2023|
|Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty||Team Ninja||March 3, 2023|
|BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle Special Edition||Arc System Works||Spring 2023|
|Guilty Gear -Strive-||Arc System Works||TBA 2023|
|Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom||Level-5||TBA 2023|
|Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes||Rabbit and Bear Studios||TBA 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
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.
Play hundreds of amazing games across Xbox and PC for one low monthly fee with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. See why so many people call it the "best deal in gaming."
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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.
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