The major selling point for the next series of Xbox consoles is definitely the Xbox Game Pass. While Microsoft’s machine isn’t known for their exclusives, unlike their Japanese counterparts Sony and Nintendo, they are definitely focusing more on offering a bunch of games for players to enjoy anywhere and anytime.
Granted, the Series X and S consoles are also notable for their gaming prowess as well, with their multitudes of teraflops and other high-end specs, Microsoft is definitely still offering a worthy next-generation experience at a pretty decent price as well.
With the Xbox Game Pass, users are spoiled for choice, with the Netflix-like approach of offering games new and old to subscribers means you’ll never be bored. And yet, with this service, the Xbox Game Pass actually evokes an aspect of gaming that seems lost in time: piracy.
A Pirate’s Life For Me
Let’s be real, game pirating is rampant across Southeast Asia, from 150-in-1 Game Boy cartridges to buying entire folders off PlayStation 2 discs. Up until the PS4, pirating was the norm and buying original games was just too expensive.
Oftentimes, you would go to friends’ houses and compare your folders of games, with the PS1 having staples like the multiple discs of Final Fantasies VII, VIII, and IX, while everyone with a PS2 was bound to have all the GTAs, FIFA, and Guitar Hero.
Of course, all this heavy pirating also came with some caveats. For example, Game Boy games up to Game Boy Advance often had saving issues, due to the creators of these 150-in-1 cartridges opting to remove the save battery needed to save progress in games. Meaning that while everyone had Pokemon Emerald, not everyone could save their journey to get all the gym badges, which meant a lot of restarting for many.
This also extended to console games, with fake CD and DVD games being very prone to scratches and outright not working after a few years. It was definitely an age of quantity over quality. In fact, while the original Xbox was able to be modded to play pirated games, it was the modded Xbox 360 that truly became a hit around Asia, as well as the last beacon of piracy for gamers across the region.
Game Pass For All
So how does the Game Pass replicate the feeling of pirating games? Well, think back to the folders and 150-in-1 cartridges, of how you have a random assortment of games, of varying quality, that you have access to at any time. That’s exactly what Xbox Game Pass is as a service and definitely feels like a steal.
Say you were curious about a certain, obscure title. These days, it’s either you wait for a sale or you check out a demo. Back then it cost almost next to nothing to buy a third-rate platformer on PlayStation. And oftentimes, we felt minimal disappointment when a game was subpar since it was so cheap and a much better title was just as readily available.
In the same way, if you played a game was subpar on Game Pass, a better game is just a download away. PC gamers might still pirate games in this day and age, but with Game Pass PC being more reliable, intuitive, and less prone to viruses and intrusive software, PC pirates can still get their fix of downloading a whole swath of titles through this service.
That said, one major complaint with Xbox Game Pass at the moment is the lack of support in certain countries. Most people who play Xbox in the region (ie the dozens of us who didn’t get a PS4) would go for either an American or Singaporean account to access the Game Pass. So this is a call out to Microsoft around Southeast Asia to open up to more countries in the region.
Some might say that having games come and go in Game Pass is a reason against the service, but if anything, the lineup of games is always fresh and usually, this pertains to third-party titles. Given how aggressive Microsoft is at acquiring studios, we’re hoping to see way more exclusives on the service.
Where else, can you have the entire Halo, Gears of War, and Kingdom Hearts franchises readily available for you to experience? Now with EA Play being part of the service, you also don’t need to shell out a bunch of money to get the latest FIFA, instead just pay your monthly Xbox Game Pass fee.
In short, if you miss the feeling of having a wide array of games, from triple-A to indies, then the Xbox Game Pass might just be for you. While we may not know the price of the Series S throughout the region, it’s still cheap enough for those looking for a quality console experience on a budget. This also extends to Game Pass PC and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, for those who like to play on both console and PC.