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Xbox Game Pass is an infinitely better deal than a 'Classic' console

Have you heard the news? Classic consoles are all the rage this year. Nintendo shook up the world last year with the NES Classic, followed it up with the explosively popular SNES Classic, and then Sony got in on the action with a PlayStation Classic. For the uninitiated, this is a $100 console with 20 games from our childhood in a little plastic box that looks just like an original PlayStation but smaller. Pre-orders for this things have been going crazy, coming close to the level of popularity we saw for the NES Classic during its first run.

All of this excitement has a lot of Xbox fans asking when Microsoft will be releasing one of these small boxes of nostalgia wrapped in cheap plastic. And if I'm honest, I hope it never does. Unlike Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft already has Xbox Game Pass for us to dive in and appreciate the games of previous generations. And not only is it cheaper than these other little boxes, you get a whole lot more out of the experience.

There's more, in every possible way, through Xbox Game Pass.

I'll be honest, I coveted one of these SNES Classic consoles for no good reason. I already had all of these games thanks to RetroPie, complete with a nice wireless SNES controller to enjoy in a way I was never able to as a kid. And when it showed up, I excitedly fired the console up and started playing. I shared with my kids, and they shared with their friends, and it was a lot of fun for that weekend. But fast forward to today, and that console is sitting on my entertainment center doing nothing. It's not even connected to the television anymore, because I was doing something and forgot to plug it back in. I'm not saying everyone is like this, but having spent $80 and almost immediately stopped using it, I feel pretty silly.

At the same time, I've never stopped using Xbox Game Pass because I get way more out of it. I've been able to play original Xbox and Xbox 360 games I never played when they first launched, or take a trip through the entire Halo story with the Master Chief Collection. Microsoft also does a pretty good job of adding new titles on a regular basis, should I ever get bored of the now 200+ games included in the subscription. There's more, in every possible way, through Xbox Game Pass. I get my nostalgia fix, but I also get to explore things I either ignored or didn't have the cash to play when I was younger.

Xbox Game Pass

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

And really, I think that's what drives me nuts about these Classic consoles. Nintendo has a monthly subscription service for the Nintendo Switch with access to a bunch of old school games, and some of the titles included in the NES and SNES classic are left off of this subscription service on purpose. Sony could easily make the PlayStation Classic games available through an online subscription, and chose this limited method instead. Because it's a cash grab, for both companies. These Classic consoles can't be legitimately updated. Games can be added to the NES Classic if you know how, but at that point why not just get a Raspberry Pi and do the whole thing yourself for cheaper?

So no, I don't think there should be an Xbox Classic. This is 2018, we have Xbox Game Pass for $10/month (opens in new tab) and a brand new Xbox Duke Controller for those who really need to feel like the "good ol' days" of gaming. That is a way better combination for your money if you ask me, and gives you so much more in the end.

See at Xbox Store (opens in new tab)

Russell is a tech nerd who chases the best of everything, from phones to game consoles to laptops and everything glowing or beeping. He's the Managing Editor of gaming content for Mobile Nations and can be found contributing to all of the Mobile Nations sites. Reach out on Twitter!

24 Comments
  • Backward compatibility and Game pass are far more useful than a classic XBOX>
  • Yup and MS doesn't nickel and dime you for everything like Sony does. Sony should change their slogan to 'For the payers'! lol
  • You're kidding right? Microsoft are just as bad as Sony, they didn't create Game Pass out of the goodness of their own hearts, they did it to make squillions of dollars.
  • Does MS charge you for gamertag name changes?
  • Yes. They do.
  • Got a link? I've changed my gamertag name before without being charged a dime. Unless they've updated their policies....
  • I don't think you understand why people want and buy "classic consoles", they buy it for nostalgia and to add it to their collection, they will play it a few times and then forget about it, they don't actually care about BC and alot of them don't even have a corrent gen console. Having the actual mini console is a crucial part for the people that buy it.
  • I was thinking the same thing. Another one of those "I don't want it so obviously noone does and they shouldn't make it." articles. Not everyone wants to go out and spend $350 on a console and retro controller, along with $10 a month to play some old xbox games. For many, a retro console with a dozen or so classic titles for £100 is ideal. Just because your classic console is sitting there doing nothing, doesn't mean others aren't out there enjoying theirs more. I know a few people that have these things that aren't gamers, but like to get them out every once in a while to enjoy some classic games. Why should they not be able to go out and spend $100 to play a few xbox classics.
  • Mostly fake nostalgia for an unlived past
  • No we don't need a classic console. But, what we do need, before MS goes all xCloud on us and wants us to pay for it... What we need is an "official" way to game stream for Android and iOS users. Yes right now iOS users have OneCast and that's amazing but where's the Android alternative and why are we waiting for a 3rd party to bring us the "Play Anywhere" functionality MS could unlock officially right now? If they did that, at least on a local LAN I've got a way to play all these amazing backward compatible titles on my tablet with my great Bluetooth Xbox One controller.... Come on MS, pull your finger out and make it so.
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/xboxone/comments/9m7ysa/retro_case_for_your_xbo... Just make the retro case for the xbox one a thing, limited or special edition, and we'll all be happy.
  • We have backward compatibility we don't need a classic xbox if we can do it with the One.
  • I moved from the UK to the US so had to sell my collection of classic computers and consoles, keeping just a small selection. The reason there's a use for a classic console in the Nintendo mould, it allows you to start playing immediately, it was a revelation plugging in my Jaguar and immediately getting to play Defender or Tempest, compared with the amount of time you spend hanging around waiting for the disc to load or just transition between sections (how much time must Forsa cost between races?). By the time an Xbox has booted, you would have had a chance for half a dozen games on a classic console. It's great for dipping in and playing an odd game when you want a break. Perhaps more importantly, it's not for you or I to say how someone should use a device and if they do release a classic Xbox, the sales figures will tell you if it was worth it.
  • While I don't really care for classic consoles here's my take.
    1: nothing about the of Xbox is really classic since it was a sleeper hit basically, that would be like Sega making an sg1000 classic or even a Saturn classic, which could happen, but not a lot of people know about it. 2: classic consoles mainly focus on the early days of eras in gaming, nes= 8 bit, snes=16 but, psone classic is early 3d, while it can be said that the og Xbox gave online games a shot in the arm for consoles that's all that the og Xbox truly contributed. 3: they tried to do a classic collection like the rare one and it didn't really do that well if I remember correctly. What would they put on an Xbox classic blinx? Fable 1? You'd have to soul search to find titles other than halo on the og Xbox that people would buy it for. I'm not saying that it shouldn't happen hell I'd get one because of the look of the og Xbox being minified lol but like the og I think it would be a bit too niche
  • Good points indeed. Same could really be said for the PlayStation Classic now that the lineup has been revealed. None of those games really stand up, at least none of the stuff that Sony owns outright. A Nintendo or Sega or Atari has decades of history, for better or worse. Xbox is barely legal to drive a car, let alone vote and call itself an adult.
  • Those classic consoles, on top of the nostalgia factor, are a much better fit for very young kids, there's no piss farting around with set up, or installs, or updates, or whatever. You get them the system for Christmas, they plug it in, and it works. And they get months of gaming out of it and all the games aren't bug ridden messes.
  • While I fully understand the nostalgia behind making a "classic" console I must admit that I don't feel attracted to buying a "NES" with a limited selection of preloaded games but would prefer one with a memory card slot in order to add titles (or having the ability to do it through an online store). Microsoft doesn't need to do a "classic" Xbox but rather allow the nostalgia to flow through online services and the ability to play old games on a new console. I would be more interested in those "mini consoles" if they had access to the full library of games since the basic idea of a console is the ability to add your own games. Another thing would be a mini gaming PC in a NES case (same size as the original console). THAT would be fun.
  • Could not agree more. The first day or so with both my NES and SNES Classics was bliss, now they both gather dust. Just two days ago I cancelled my PlayStation Classic preorder and hope someone else on Amazon enjoys it more than I would have. Xbox has done everything right with both Game Pass and Backward Compatibility, far more than any of their competitiors. And while I do enjoy both my Switch and PS4 Pro for their respective exclusives, I’m finally feeling Microsoft’s mantra of Xbox being the “Best place to play.” It took 5 years longer than it had to, but they’ve finally arrived. Now if you need me, I’ll be over here playing Panzer Dragoon Orta between long Red Dead Redemption 2 sessions.
  • I have the game pass and it is most definitely not better than having a classic console. The game selection is very limited and they plan to swap tittles out, not necessarily always add to them. I don't want to play just the games Microsoft says I get to play. I want to play the games I chose. The argument is really that simple.
  • How is that any different from any of the classic consoles where they are pre-loaded with games that Nintendo and Sony sell. You don't get to pick the games that are on those either.
  • If I wanted to play old **** from the 8bit or 16bit Era I would have kept those consoles. Out with the old and in with the new is the way I feel about it. I like having backward compatibility even though I hardly ever use it. Once I buy a new console I would rather them focus on new games and features. I do use bc every once in awhile but not often. I like the option of knowing I can if I so decide. I hope Microsoft keeps the same consumer friendly practices going forward into the next generation.
  • Personally, I don't think we need any controller at all, nostalgic or otherwise.
  • Xbox isn't even old enough to have any classic games anyway
  • It was released in 2001. 5 years after the PS1.