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It might be time for an 'Xbox Game Pass Lite'

Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass (Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

We already have Xbox Game Pass for Console, for PC, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Do we really need more? Here's why I think the answer to that is yes!

Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft's big Netflix-like gaming service that continues to make headlines. Only recently, Microsoft acquired Bethesda and ZeniMax's subsidiary studios, boosting Game Pass with over 20 new games. Additionally, Microsoft recently revealed that Outriders is dropping day one into the service, which marks a first for a major third-party AAA game.

Xbox Game Pass is at the forefront of Microsoft's lofty ambition to reach all of the world's 2-3 billion gamers, cramming its service with some of the best Xbox games out there. To achieve this, Microsoft is betting on new markets spear-headed by Xbox Game Pass for PC, as well as Xbox Game Pass on mobile phones, and soon, the web. It's with that in mind that I wonder if it's time for a dedicated cloud version for Xbox Game Pass, called "Xbox Game Pass Lite," or "Xbox Game Pass Go," which could also circumvent some potential issues with competing storefront policies.

Entry to cloud gaming

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Right now, to get access to Xbox Game Pass for cloud gaming, you have to buy in at the most expensive tier — Game Pass Ultimate. I've always felt this was a little bit strange if this is supposedly designed to be your most accessible format for the service. With Game Pass Ultimate, you also get Game Pass for console and Game Pass for PC, but I often wonder if cloud-first gamers would be interested in using these services or not.

It could be that the $15 per month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier is the best and most cost-effective way to fund the service, given the massive investment to build the server infrastructure. However, do potential users look at Xbox Game Pass for PC and console on Game Pass Ultimate and think "well, I don't have an Xbox or a gaming PC, so why would I subscribe to Ultimate just to get the cloud feature?" In that vein, a cheaper, cloud-only option for Xbox Game Pass be a good way to market the service to new users who perhaps aren't necessarily interested in grabbing an Xbox console or a gaming PC.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

A cheaper, cloud-only "Xbox Game Pass Go" could also be an interesting option for families. I've heard that Microsoft is exploring some form of a "family plan" for Xbox Game Pass, but there are hurdles to overcome with third-party publishers to that end. If you have a younger sibling or child, grabbing a cheaper subscription to give them access to cross-platform games like Minecraft Dungeons could be a cost-effective alternative while we wait for a full-blown family plan option.

Indeed, third-party published games create a range of issues.

An option for third-party stores

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Google Play Store and iOS App store have strict rules about how games can be delivered by their partners, and there's a potential conflict for third parties in game distribution. Google, iOS, and others would rather you play games via their storefront. Apple is notorious for blocking competing streaming services, arbitrarily enforcing rules for games that it doesn't enforce for music or entertainment.

Apple anti-competitively wants to block xCloud and similar services, perhaps driven by fear of losing another paradigm shift similar to how they lost out to Spotify and Netflix.

Microsoft would put Xbox Game Pass on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch consoles too, if given the chance.

Apple's app store has already noted that it wants Microsoft to sell every game on Xbox Game Pass as a separate entity, despite not requiring Netflix or Spotify to do the same for the content on their respective platforms. Google Play also has rules about how in-app purchases can happen through its storefront, putting a limitation on the types of games that can be distributed through Xbox Game Pass on Android.

I feel like Microsoft would put Xbox Game Pass on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch consoles too, if given the chance. When Xbox head Phil Spencer was on stage discussing the Bethesda acquisition, he very carefully noted that this was about platforms that support Xbox Game Pass — not necessarily Windows PCs and Xbox consoles. There's a conflict there for Sony and Nintendo, since they would naturally prefer it if you were playing their games sold through their storefronts. The likelihood of PlayStation accepting Xbox Game Pass is pretty slim, but given that the Nintendo Switch has a large performance delta against PC and Xbox, though, I could see a possibility of a slimmed-down, Xbox Game Studios-focused cloud version of Game Pass for Nintendo Switch that wouldn't necessarily compete directly with Nintendo's store.

A smaller library of games that are wholly owned by Microsoft would reduce conflict with other storefronts, potentially, allow Microsoft to use those storefront's payment systems for in-app purchases, and allow them to deliver its own games to platforms that might not be powerful enough to run them natively.

Absorbing Xbox Live Gold

Xbox Live Sign

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Recently, people noticed that Microsoft had de-emphasized the "Xbox Live" branding in some aspects of the Xbox OS. Microsoft later noted that while it isn't removing the Xbox Live branding completely, it is decoupling it from some system features that are now just commonplace components of owning an Xbox.

I've written before about my belief that years down the line, Xbox Live Gold as a subscription service could go away. I think one way to start a shift in mentality about Xbox Live Gold is to perhaps fold it into any prospective cloud-only "Game Pass Lite" service. Xbox Live Gold has already been a contentious issue in the community, given that Xbox Game Pass PC players don't have to pay for it to access multiplayer. And with the rise of cross-platform competitive gaming in titles like Call of Duty and Fortnite, the argument for paywalling multiplayer is waning.

Folding Xbox Live Gold into an entry-level form of Xbox Game Pass would help to further the adoption of Xbox Game Pass, and help grow Xbox's cloud aspirations at the same time.

More options on Xbox Game Pass, more users

Xbox Game Pass at Gamescom 2018

Source: Matt Brown / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown / Windows Central)

Xbox Game Pass is all about accessibility and ease of use. The fewer barriers your service has, the more users you will acquire. Obviously, there are profitability constraints to consider, but the fundamental barriers tend to be price and platform.

Getting Xbox Game Pass to more platforms will increase its growth. If a cheaper version, potentially with fewer games, can circumvent skepticism from Apple, Nintendo, and others, it may be worthwhile considering to further grow the platform. A cheaper variant may also serve as a gateway to higher-tier subscriptions to Game Pass regular up to Ultimate, in similar way to how Netflix has higher-paid tiers for 4K streaming.

It could also be the case that Xbox Game Pass is already cheap as it possibly can be without losing tons of money. I don't have the data to back that up, but I feel it in my gaming guts that a subscription tier that is, at least, cloud-only is missing from the lineup right now. Either way, the future of Game Pass is an intriguing one.

Jez Corden
Jez Corden

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

53 Comments
  • In your opinion, what would be the appropriate price for Game Pass Go or Lite? I have wondered this myself for just the streaming access. Maybe $5 a month?
  • Yeah maybe, with a slimmed-down first-party-only library @720p? Game Pass regular gets you xCloud and local downloads of first and third-party games. Game Pass Ultimate gets you EA, PC, xCloud @ 1080p/4K? There's some logistics/maths to work out there, lol. But it just feels odd that there isn't a cloud-only tier.
  • I'm wondering if MS will ever offer just cloud access to bought games without Game Pass access. Maybe even merge it with Live Gold and offer Games with Gold for cloud gaming. It might boost Gold value a little bit even though it's not their priority and it will probably go away in the future.
  • I wish, but I think it will remain a GP feature. This fine though now that GP is well over 100 games and climbing.
  • I think there is more of a need for gamepass family than a game pass light.
  • Exactly, I should just be able to have my existing Microsoft Family accounts associated with Gamepass and allow everyone in the house to enjoy the games.
  • These things should not be mutually exclusive. We should be able to have both.
  • Oh i agree... but i think a family plan would resolve a lot of the light plan demand since most people could be members of a family
  • You are aware you can share your benefits of Gamepass in your family, right? All you gotta do is logon to the XBox with the profile associated with Gamepass, download the game from Gamepass and then logout and your other family member would login with their account and voila. They can play it on that XBox. I do this for my kids all the time.
  • Disagree. Google and Amazon both have shown there is no market for a standalone streaming service at this time. Having the streaming be an add-on is the only logical course of action. Console games are meant to be sat down and enjoyed. Even in my "short" sessions on my Xbox, I'm there an hour. Mobile games are made to be played in a few minutes. I just don't see a compelling way to duplicate that with X-cloud. It is good filler for when you cannot be near a console but it isn't good enough to replace a console. Microsoft's largest market is still the US and due to the size of that market geographically, it just cannot depend on the type of high-speed internet penetration markets like Japan and South Korea can rely on. If anything, Microsoft needs to offer a family plan. They offer one for Office; why they don't offer one for Xbox is beyond me given that Xbox is one of the most family-oriented things in Microsoft's entire product stack.
  • Why can't they do both? Also, why are you limiting yourself to only people that have a console or a PC that can handle games? That seems like a waste when Xcloud will soon be on ANY device with an internet connection.
  • Because there is no demand for streaming (meaning masses) to support the costs. Ask Sony how deploying to TVs, phones, and consoles worked out. Shadow Gaming cloud service has been the latest victim of the game streaming stupidity... they filed for bankruptcy a few weeks back. I mean we are use to Microsoft copying good services/products.... in this case all they are doing is copying services nobody wants. LOL
  • Your point doesn't explain why they can't do something they are essentially already doing. There would be very little risk to expand the service to a mobile only teir. According to you the demand of the service would not be enough to overload the servers to the point to where a $5 a month fee per person could not support the upgrades needed.
  • If there is no demand, there is no reason to keep the product/service operating. (see Microsoft history) There simply is no game streaming business see Google, Shadow Gaming, OnLive, Gaikai, Sony, etc. The whole game rental business is kind of silly... meaning most people are lucky to play 1 game a year. If you were right, things like Groove Music would still be a thing... they're not... why? No demand. All this game subscription nonsense was Phil's lie to keep Satya from completely cancelling gaming at Microsoft.
  • I'm curious about this no demand claim as streaming services for the other prominent media entertainment industries are pretty much the cornerstone now. I can see how gaming as a streaming service is less convincing given its time intensive nature but there must be some potential if Microsoft is investing & promoting the service. The difference between the companies you've mentioned above and Microsoft is pretty much capital reserves. So it might be the case where the incurred costs are long winded before their revenue creeps up to profitable means for xcloud.
  • Well, Microsoft does have cash to burn but so does Google, Sony and Nvidia. Just because you have cash to burn doesn't mean there is demand. Literally, what MS is doing has already been done... but unlike their other failed consumer products this is a loser... why copy a loser? (I guess what else are they going to do with it... other than burn the cash?) Normally, if you are copying something... you copy the winners, not the loser products. Game streaming is nothing new... heck the tech is more or less 15 years old, see the PS3/PSP (beta game streaming). OnLive/Gaikai were offering services back in 2009-2010... no demand. Let's be honest, Microsoft couldn't compete with Valve with Steam, and was slowly losing it to Sony/Nintendo on the console side. I don't see how making subscriptions really helps anyone. Sometimes you only have one chance see Windows Phone.
  • True... Google has similar cash on hand but little to no prior experience with gaming pre-stadia I believe. I think that indie games will be an interesting variable given their greater accessibility & lower level of commitment. Point of contention is... how much market share do indie games really have? If anything, it's smart that Microsoft have xcloud embedded in gamepass since it can be used as a trial to gather userbase data.
  • The cash on hand is meaningless as there is no demand. There isn't going to be any demand just like they was no demand back in 2010 with OnLive or 2015 with Sony with PS Now, or Nvidia with their streaming offerings in 2014. There is nothing new about any of this, the simply copied a service that has no demand. It was smart of Phil to lie to Satya so that Phil has a job for another 5 years or so.... other than that nothing smart about any of this.
  • Daisy, as bobsentell pointed out above, the real reason for the lack of major commercial success with Stadia and others on mobile is the different gaming experience desired on console (long-form) and on mobile devices (casual, short-form). But Google has a different incentive here than MS: they already have a vibrant and successful Google Play store, where they make money on mobile games. They gain nothing by putting mobile-oriented games on their Stadia system. MS could reasonably offer indie developers an opportunity to put the power of an Xbox in every mobile gamer's hands, which would also fit with Jez' suggestion of a Game Pass lite targeted at mobile gamers. Further, if MS is already making money or at break even (appears it's profitable already) with Game Pass Ultimate, then the there is negligible incremental cost to offer a Game Pass Lite. So as long as it adds some meaningful revenue (probably in the high tens or low hundreds of millions of dollars) so it's more than just a management distraction, it's a much lower bar for MS to pursue this than most other companies.
  • Stadia nor the other streaming services have been successful and it doesn't matter what kind of device it was streaming to, which is why companies like Sony stopped supporting it on all these other devices... no demand. <-------- "Further, if MS is already making money or at break even (appears it's profitable already) with Game Pass Ultimate, then the there is negligible incremental cost to offer a Game Pass Lite. " Well, MS doesn't provide profit/loss on individual products, I seriously doubt they make any kind of real positive cash flow.... which is why Phil had to lie to Satya to start with i.e. avoid cancellation. I'm still a little confused as to the GP Lite as well... because you can get all the games in GP for free on PC and the games don't even expire. It actually makes more sense to play the games with with a non-GP account. LOL (see youtube) You are better off, downloading the games, getting a refund for the one month of GP and playing the games forever. I would love to be able to sell dog **** but there is no demand for it.... me shipping dog **** right to front door won't increase the demand. No demand = no business The real issue is Microsoft really isn't needed as a middleman for third party games, but somehow they think they are.... I see nothing wrong with them trying to operate as normal large publisher... but that isn't what they are trying to do. Which is what Google is trying to do. The world simply doesn't need or want them for that.
  • And what you have seen on youtube doesn't work or at least not the way you think.... other than having familly members playing games.... but even if it did like most hacks on big markets they represent peanuts to even tickle one ball of the player and could easily patch it if it did.... So yeah the way you turn things you sound about right except you are taking shortcuts at every turn and comparing apple and oranges... sony is only a true competitor to MS in console fanboy heads fact is they are not... MS is competing with the likes of Google Amazon, apple, and in the gaming space they are years ahead and have always been....
  • You're not a smart person and every comment you makes confirms this notion.
  • The way you say things yeah sure except you are completely boatching historical and technical facts... And having first à winning horse or last a losing one is not at all à proof of future results. Thing is, it's quite the opposite first smartphones have not been invented by apple... the name was coined in the late 90's and back then windows mobile was dominating with sybian, other exemple kodak launched the first numeric camera...yet they are gone... so being first with a potential market doesn't mean you gonna grab it for hundreds of reasons... Now comparing cloud gaming from sony onlive to current trch is like comparing the first steam cars to modern engines... give me a break have you tried today cloud gaming compared to back then... Now you tell me google Amazon are current... yeah sure... but first google is years behind in cloud infrastructures compared to MS especially for dedicated serverbanks for gaming.... and amazon well they didn't really tried they do have the infrastructure but not the technical know how for cloud in the gaming space... fact is MS is years in front on that specific part of the cloud and nobody has been offering anything similar.... And we'll why sony and nintendo don't do it.... well because they simply can't at all.... MS is not trying to take sony or nintendo marketshare or steam... they are trying to completely destroy the console market and anything under the high end PC gaming.... the point is to not need a console or a gaming PC unless you want a beast most people can't or won't afford... while keeping a good enough quality standard for people who don't really care about Tflops and ultra maxi top bananas resolution... just like netflix They just want to play games for cheap.... so far nobody has done and tried to sell it... nobody.. and the one trying have nowhere the portfolio and or the infrastructure at the ready... so the market does not exist yet.... That being said i still don"t see how having a lite tier sub would be bad... again at worst it changes nothing to the cash cow they already have today...
  • Such an incoherent argument that completely ignores the existence of cloud streaming in Game Pass Ultimate. The point is the service is already available, adding another streaming only tier doesn't add any extra overhead.
  • And ? I think you don't understand what is said here? With a lite sub with your statement it would be more cash for MS I mean current subs would still exist and keep growing and people who would never get the ultimate at least would have an option to give 5 dollars to MS if what you say is true nothing changes for MS compared to the current sub tiers and even if there is just 1 guy in the world it's still 5 dollar more a month for MS with no extra expenses. So yeah you might be right but if you are worst case is they still get a couple bucks more every month theh wouldn't with the current state of sub tiers
  • There are 2-3 billion gamers in the world ?
    With connexion 4G-5G ?
  • Or name for XCloud.
    Lite, Go, Gold ...
  • XGP XCloud on Nintendo Switch with 720p, why not ?
  • I think it's a good idea but don't think they should pursue it. GPU is the cloud option. Opening the door to play on any web enabled device. In order to be a viable business model, it's more worth it imo to create more undeniable value at the $15 funnel and letting you stream games you own for free or cheap. Trying to get on Nintendo or PS is futile. Plus they already signed Sony to xcloud, they get the revenue regardless.
  • These game pass articles (and various paid ads on the interwebs) are very similar to the Windows Phone days with Jason. This isn't how closed platforms work, the whole purpose of closed platforms is security and singularity of storefronts, further so royalties can be paid to the platform holder. Third party stores is stupid in those environments, as a generalization. Everyone has rental service including Ubisoft, EA, Sony, etc. and they all have their own storefronts. With Microsoft's continuous failure in PC storefronts i.e. Games for Windows Live and Microsoft Store. As for this Lite thing, well, why would anyone on PC pay that... they can currently get all the GP games for free.... forever for no money, see youtube videos on how to keep GP games forever for $0. Generally speaking, Microsoft isn't needed as a middleman... the other platform holders have no real need for it and PC gamers avoid Microsoft like the plague. Also, the author seems to be living in an alternative universe.... Microsoft was attempting to raise the price of XBLG to $120 a year just a few weeks ago.... now he is implying they are going to give the real cash cow away for free. (silly rabbit)
  • Funny, you have been making simular comments this entire time too. They are about as old and stale as the repeated themed articles you speak of.
  • We all need comedy in our lives. Jason was the gift that kept giving. This will most likely not turn out well for Microsoft, but they got plenty of money to shovel into the furnace. In the meantime, this site got a click, although I am very confused why people that write articles don't understand the basics of the industry they are covering. (beats me) I'm a little confused by the aggression to me, what I am stating is fairly obvious to anyone that has been around the block.
  • The aggression undoubtedly comes from the incessant sarcasm and dismissiveness you display towards others. You always position yourself as the expert and anyone else as ignorant, at best. You clearly hold yourself in high regard ... a view few others likely share. Answer your question?
  • The irony is.... I don't think anyone has to be an expert on any of this. This is the same reason why everyone was laughing about Jason with all his silly articles. It was duhhhhhhh, there really isn't much too most of this. Really what Microsoft does is copy, sometimes it copies in enterprise and it works, in the consumer space..... not so much. And everyone told Jason and WC how stupid the articles were, yet they kept pumping them out like clock work. Which is okay but no it doesn't take very much to know all of this is nonsense. Its hard to take any article serious if one doesn't understand the how closed platforms operate, its not new, it doesn't take some huge technology degree or even much smarts at all.
  • Well, you're consistent if nothing else.
  • No it's not obvious because first your 0$ keep the games forever is completely false
    Second if it's not most people won't do it to be relevant
    Third if they did it would be patchable.... So that's one point that is non valid in the argument no matter what... Now you say it's been done it has failed there is no market.... It hasn't been done ever by anyone And for historical fairness for people that have been around the block MS was dominating the mobile phone market way before apple and google even tried to get into it... Again nothing you have said is either right or valid to prove your hypothesis .... That being said you still might be right in the end... but hey à broken clock gives the right time twice a day right....
  • Dasiy, I think you're right to assume that MS is only going to do what makes it money. That's how every company needs to operate, or it won't be around to do anything for anyone for very long. However, I think you're reaching some incorrect conclusions. You rightly point out the weakness of the MS Store for Windows games, but don't acknowledge the absolute dominance of the Xbox Store for Xbox games. I have no idea if MS would do this, but it's clearly a reasonable strategy to leverage their strength and build on it in order to grow into markets, rather than continue to pour good money after bad on approaches that had already failed. In other words, the best way for MS to see its store gain prominence like Google Play (where Google does make money on mobile games) would be to try to build out from the Xbox Store on games.
  • Daisy, your comments are so dumb and ignorant, stop embarrassing yourself. Microsoft already is a middleman in gaming.
  • The cheaper tier from a consumer's standpoint & service notoriety makes sense but there's an elephant in the room: cloud streaming services leave a carbon footprint that can't be ignored. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to guess that Microsoft is cautiously expanding xcloud, ensuring that a spike in demand doesn't tax their azure data centers to a point where energy efficiency is no longer attainable.
  • I think the biggest issue is not the accessibility to the steaming service, but the content that can be played on a hand held device. The bulk of the games on XCloud are console games modified to to play on a small screen. At the end, no matter how good the service might be, playing Gears or Halo, or anything on a mobile device is not a fun experience. What MS needs to do, is have their game studios make dedicated hand held games. Gears Pop was an example, but they are shutting down the game. They will not do it, but the simplest thing for them to do is have the entire library of Windows Phone games available on XCloud. That should be over 200+ games (I think there were close to 300, but some of the servers have been closed), that were designed for mobile, and then offer a $5 subscription service for access to the entire XCloud library as a stand alone option, and of course it would be part of game pass ultimate.
  • I don't personally see any need to fragment Game Pass any further. Cloud gaming is still very much a niche product, I believe. Xbox and PC are the two platforms paying the bills, so to speak, so it makes sense to focus on and continue to invest there. In this regard, I think Microsoft has a very strong position in gaming and making cloud gaming a bonus is the right approach for where they, and the technology, are now.
  • Maybe off topic, but what I think they most need is a Family plan. I'm an Xbox fan, with 2 kids and 3 Xboxes in the house: a One, One X, and a Series X, where each kid has an Xbox and I also play on one. We'll probably get another Series X in the next year for a dedicated game room and/or to phase out the old Xbox One. I would absolutely pay for an Ultimate plan if we could all use it at the same time, which would often mean allowing us to play co-op games together. I'd even pay more than the current cost of an Ultimate plan for a Family plan that would work for both kids on all 3 or 4 Xboxes. However, there is no way I'm paying for 3 separate plans ($45 - $60 per month!!), and I'm not going to get just 1 plan, because that would only serve to create strife in the house, so instead we stay away from all the subscription services and just play offline games (or Minecraft together for free over LAN). Meanwhile, Netflix, Disney+, and other non-MS services work on all 3 Xboxes just fine. I'm the prime example of low hanging fruit and extra revenue MS could be making by offering a family plan, just like every other major streaming service and just like they do for their Office Family plan. It seems just the epitome of stupid that they don't offer this and start making more money.
  • They did have a family plan for Gold. It was $100/year and included 4 family members. They abandoned it soon after the One was released. I think the real problem, like always, is that 'people' start abusing the option. I know for a fact that many people would get 3 friends, and make a family to significantly discount Gold. Currently Xbox allows you to assign a home console, which in turn basically allows a family member to use all the Gold/Gamepass features thus allowing essentially 2 people to play the same stuff on 2 consoles. Again, people abuse this privilege, where people exchange their home console with a friend and then access each others game libraries, buy only 1 copy of the game, and/or only 1 person actually has to gave Gold/Gamepass. I have 3 kids, and multiple Xbox's. Basically I have to buy 2 subscriptions, and all 4 of us can then play. The best thing to do is stock up on gamepass subscriptions when they go on sale (like Black Friday, when they were discounted 40-50%). You can stack up to 3 years of subscription, and thus save significantly, perhaps even more than any family plan would offer.
  • As a console gamer, if Game Pass ends up on competing consoles, Microsoft better hope they always have the world’s most powerful console, otherwise I’m going wherever I can play games best. I’m a fan of the MS console exclusives. Without those, it’s simply a matter of who has the best hardware for running games.
  • I'd love a cheap game streaming option and it's really a win win for everyone. For xbox they get monthly subs, for the dev they can optimize the game for server specs and not have to deal with customer hardware issues. For the user they don't need expensive hardware. Loved playing Fallout through Geforce Now and see why Bethesda blocked it...
  • Technically, game streaming requires more hardware, more electricity and more internet bandwidth usage. Nothing is eliminated with game streaming, the costs are actually higher.... as you need hardware running it in the datacenter and at the remote location. You don't eliminate hardware. What you are really doing is paying a third party to manager your game console in a lease/rental fashion. LOL
  • You completely missed his point. Consumers don't care what it costs Microsoft for hardware, electricity or bandwidth to game stream as long as the costs remain reasonably the same and they're provided an acceptable product. one80oneday does also make a great point that this eliminates the need for expensive hardware for the consumer. Streaming to a Tablet, Phone and (eventually) a PC doesn't require high end specifications for the Consumer. I see it as a viable way to be on the road for work or visiting relatives and playing games on my non-Gaming laptop/tablet. You keep on beating the drum that there is "no demand". It appears that one80oneday and myself are certainly interested in it = real demand vs made up demand. I see XCloud as an additional selling point to purchase GP Ultimate. Id' compare it to PSVR for Sony Playstation. Is there tons of demand? Some, but the option of having XCloud or PSVR may be the one feature that's needed to get a sale. It also opens up the market for Asia which mobile gaming is incredibly popular.
  • Removing third party and indie titles from Game Pass would be a huge mistake, they should not screw over all those developers just so they can pander to Sony or Nintendo which desperately want Halo and Elder Scrolls on their machines. Do not do that.
  • They already have one: GamePass. The real GamePass is GamePass Ultimate, while GamePass Lite is the base GamePass package.
  • The idea isn't bad.
    The timing is.
    A limited version of GamePass might work if the infrastructure could support it.
    It can't. The bandwidth and latency isn't ubiquitous. Also, the big money on GamePass isn't going to be on phones; it will be on TVs.
    Getting xCloud on TVs bypasses both Sony and Nintendo.
    No need to deal with them when their Gamers can signup directly on the TV. Modern 4K TVs need pretty strong electronics to handle VRR, upscaling, and the other top features so they can host a pretty sophisticated xCloud client. Finally, the best gateway to full GamePass is full GamePass for $1.
  • xCloud isn't at a maturity level to be offered as a stand alone service. There a long way from that and the failure of Stadia should show how jumping in to fast is. MS is in no hurry.
  • Right now streaming is far from perfect, to much latency and network issues etc. But, since it's included we don't care much. It's a bonus, it works ok in many games and so on. We can deal with some latency. If they sell it as a standalone feature things changes. Then it's not just a bonus feature we got with Ultimate. Then we pay for the product. Then the demands will be higher. So, they should wait at least.
  • XCLOUD is still in beta stage right? That's why it's only in the ultimate version i believe... it's not something they really sell yet and for a beta the higher tier subscription is probably the most involved ans the smallest so closer to a closed beta size... at least that's my guess