video games

Microsoft’s PC Game Pass preview: 5 reasons why you might want to subscribe

Kyle Chua

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Microsoft’s PC Game Pass preview: 5 reasons why you might want to subscribe

All screenshots from Game Pass/Kyle Chua

The subscription service is shaping up to be the closest thing to a Netflix-like service for gamers in the Philippines

Microsoft announced that it’s finally bringing PC Game Pass to the Philippines, giving us all the chance to play a library of games for a relatively affordable monthly price. The software company is running a preview of the subscription service, which you can sign up for right now. And it only costs P5 for the duration of the initial trial. 

But even after that introductory price – regular monthly price is P119 – there are plenty of reasons why you might want to check out and subscribe to the service. Here are five of them below:

Great selection of games

Microsoft said that at launch the service features a selection of over “100 high-quality games”, consisting of a pretty great mix of first- and third-party picks. Some of the latest releases from Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios are here, including Forza Horizon 5, Age of Empires IV, and Halo Infinite. These are well-received titles that, if you’re not already on the Xbox ecosystem, you might have missed. Other titles from Microsoft include Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, and Microsoft Flight Simulator

The service additionally has games published by Bethesda, which Microsoft acquired last year. These include Fallout 4 and The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim, among others. 

The service also features a number of notable games from partner publishers, some of which are quite new. These include Square Enix’s Guardians of the Galaxy, IO Interactive’s Hitman Trilogy, Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Extraction and Bandai Namco’s Scarlet Nexus

And in case that’s not enough, you get EA Play as well, screenshot shown below, letting you access games from the publisher’s most popular franchises like The Sims, FIFA, Mass Effect, and Battlefield. Last year’s Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which bundles reworked versions of the original trilogy of games, is included here, along with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Similar to Netflix, the games do rotate though, with some titles being taken after a certain period as new ones are added. But you can rest assured that the games Microsoft owns will likely stay in the service forever. You’ll also see what games are leaving soon, so you can play them first before they leave. 

Download and play

Once you’re subscribed, you just have to select the game you want to play, download and install it, and you’re off. Microsoft’s PC Game Pass isn’t a streaming service – or at least that component is not available yet locally. This means that in case you don’t have a fast or stable internet connection, you don’t have to worry about your game freezing or lagging during play. As long as you can download and install the game, you can play as normal. 

Cost-efficient way to discover games

The newly launched subscription service is also one of the most cost-efficient ways to discover and play games. Even with deep sales, a single game, say, a recent blockbuster release, can still cost upwards of P500. You’re only paying P119 here for an entire month and even if you only play just that one game, you’ve still saved a lot. 

This works especially well if you’re the type to play a game once and move on to another. If you’re also not particular about owning the game on a specific platform or service, this works too. 

It’s also an affordable option for you to play games that you might not have wanted to spend money on. They’re already included, as part of your monthly fee, so might as well try them out, right?

Day one access

What’s more, some games will be available on the service on launch day, sparing you from having to pay full price for them. Normally, there’s no way to save money or score discounts on new games. But here, if a game gets day one access, you can play the day it comes out while only paying for your monthly subscription fee. 

Game Pass shows some of the titles that were available on the service on the day of the game’s release

Just remember though that this won’t be available for all games. Microsoft says the feature only covers new releases from Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks, along with select indies and blockbusters. 

Sony, in what seems like an effort to compete with Microsoft, recently revamped its PlayStation Plus service, adding two subscription tiers that similarly offer you access to a library of games. The company, however, made it clear that, as of right now, it won’t offer day one access to new games, not even for first-party releases. 

In a way, this puts Microsoft’s approach at a slight advantage as it provides you more options of how you can purchase and play your games. Then again, this can seem like an apples-to-oranges scenario since there’s no overlap between the games that are available – they’re different titles from different studios. 

Local payment options

Previously, to subscribe to Game Pass, you had no other choice but to buy Xbox gift cards from local retailers and top them up to your account for payment. But with the local launch of the service, you can now add your credit card to your account and have it bill you automatically each month. It essentially streamlines the entire payment process and makes it a lot easier to subscribe and stay subscribed. 

Microsoft said that it’s previewing the service to “setup and test the local payment systems” so we don’t know yet just how easy it will be to pay for the service – something we’ll just have to wait for until its launch.  Given that credit card penetration isn’t particularly high in the Philippines, more popular instruments such as GCash or Paymaya might help the service gain more users.

You can access the preview right now via the Xbox Insider Hub app. To find it, open the Microsoft Store app on your Windows PC, and search for Xbox Insider. We detail the step-by-step registration process here–

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