Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Netflix-style streaming service for Xbox video games is launching to the masses on June 1 as it aims to capitalize on the preferred method to access video games these days.
In an announcement this week, the Redmond, Wash., software behemoth said Xbox Game Pass is now available to all Xbox Live Gold members, who can start their 14-day free trial ahead of other game players. The company noted that it has been testing the new service with a limited number of games via its Xbox Insider Program and, based on positive feedback, it is ready for primetime. The new gaming platform will launch in 31 markets with a catalog of more than 100 games. (See also: Microsoft: Xbox Scorpio Details Are Released.)
Many Titles at Launch
“When Xbox Game Pass launches, you can download and play a broad range of games in full fidelity on your Xbox One or Xbox One S console, including blockbusters like Halo 5: Guardians, NBA 2K16 and Payday 2; fun for the whole family in LEGO Batman, Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Pinata; retro and classic games like Mega Man Legacy Collection, Streets of Rage and Pac-Man Championship Edition; and of course, Xbox Game Pass has a number of great first-person and third-person shooter games, including all three titles in the amazing Bioshock franchise, Gears of War 1-3, Gears Ultimate, Perfect Dark Zero, Borderlands and more,” Microsoft said in its announcement. It noted at the launch that gamers will also have access to Xbox classic games and that each month it will add new titles to the catalog.
In late February, Microsoft announced it was getting into the streaming market with its new service, which gives users unlimited access to more than 100 games and costs $9.99 a month. The company said at the time that customers will have access to more than 100 Xbox One and backward-compatible Xbox 360 games.
While Wall Street applauded the move, given that gamers are increasingly downloading rather than buying a physical DVD, it tanked shares of GameStop Corp.(GME), whose bread and butter comes from physical sales of video games. With Microsoft moving online, it’s expected to weigh on the retailer’s prospects. Microsoft has said it is working with GameStop to come up with a plan for it to resell the Xbox Game Pass service in its stores. (See also: Microsoft Is Working With GameStop on Streaming.)