Microsoft will begin selling a subscription service for personal computer video games, two years after unveiling a similar offering for the Xbox console.
Two years ago, Microsoft launched Xbox Game Pass on Xbox One, offering a curated library of games. Now the company designed a service specifically for the needs of PC gamers and PC game developers. It’s called Xbox Game Pass, just like the original.
Microsoft says that the Xbox Game Pass for PC will give players unlimited access to a curated library of over 100 high-quality PC games on Windows 10, from well-known PC game developers and publishers such as Bethesda, Deep Silver, Devolver Digital, Paradox Interactive, SEGA, and more. Microsoft also intents to include new games from Xbox Game Studios in Xbox Game Pass for PC the same day as their global release, including titles from newly acquired studios like Obsidian and inXile. Microsoft is working with over 75 developers and publishers to bring PC content to the service, with new games added every month.
Xbox Game Pass for PC members will also receive discounts in the Microsoft Store on Windows of up to 20% on games currently in the library and up to 10% off related game DLC and add-ons.
The company didn’t announce pricing or availability for the service but said it will have more to share at the E3 games industry conference next month in Los Angeles.
The company also plans to make Xbox Game Studios PC games available in multiple stores, including its own Microsoft Store on Windows, at their launch. Microsoft has already said it will sell its core franchise “Halo” on Valve Corp.’s Steam store for the first time. Today the company announced it will bring more than 20 other Xbox Game Studios titles to Steam.
In March, Microsoft announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will come to PC later this year, launching on Steam in addition to the Microsoft Store on Windows. The company will continue to add to the more than 20 Xbox Game Studios titles on Steam, starting with Gears 5 and all Age of Empires I, II & III: Definitive Editions. Xbox Game Studios titles ll also be available in other stores on PC.
New Xbox Game Studios titles will include features such as voice and text chat, LFG, friends lists and cross-play across PC and console. On Windows 10 you’ll find this functionality in the Xbox Game Bar, which will expand in the future.
Microsoft had a dream with Windows 8 that involved universal Windows apps that would span across phones, tablets, PCs, and even Xbox consoles. The plan was that app developers could write a single app for all of these devices, and it would magically span across them all. This dream really started to fall apart after Windows Phone failed.
Microsoft has spent years pushing developers to create special apps for the company’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP). Today, Microsoft is finally allowing game developers to bring full native Win32 games to the Microsoft Store, meaning the many games that developers publish on popular stores like Steam don’t have to be rebuilt for UWP. Microsoft will be enabling full support for native Win32 games to the Microsoft Store on Windows. This will unlock more options for developers and gamers alike, allowing for more customization and control.
Apart from increasing its appeal to PC players, the company is working on a game-streaming service called xCloud. It will soon face increased competition in the space as companies from Google to Apple work on their own streaming and subscription services for video games.