Xbox Game Pass

I was scrolling through my Google news feed the other day, while laying on the floor in my den as my cat groomed my hair (she’s very doting), when I came across an article on Tom’s Guide extolling the virtues and unrealized promise of cloud gaming as presented by Xbox. And although I personally haven’t spent much time poking the cloud gaming bear, it did get me thinking: why isn’t there a Game Pass tier that is strictly for cloud gaming? 

Now, as far as my sleuthing skills — as limited as they may be — could uncover, there appears to be no dedicated cloud gaming tier for Xbox owners. That is to say, if the future of video games lies in the cloud, Microsoft and Xbox are doing a pretty lousy job of offering me an affordable way of making this future a reality. Currently it’s being presented as a bonus feature of the most expensive Game Pass tier, as opposed to the feature.

This is especially odd when you can buy TVs that have Xbox Game Pass pre-loaded, which allows you to game on the TV directly via the Xbox cloud with only a controller and no need for a dedicated console. So if you indeed have no console or PC or even just the desire to utilize what PC or laptop you have to play games, then why would you want to subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate in order to have access to the singular feature you do want? This feels like an odd omission on the part of Xbox — and for the consumer, a waste of money.

Xbox Cloud Gaming

I personally could see spending somewhere around $9.99 a month (although $6.99 feels closer to the sweet spot), to be able to fire up some cloud games while traveling or even just killing time at work (until I can install a Costanza-style nap area under my desk). And I am sure there would be a sizable audience that would sign up to check out the cool new app on their cool new TV, only to forget to unsubscribe later. And this is a market I feel Microsoft prefers to its dedicated customers.

Obviously, Microsoft has spent an inordinate amount of time and money mulling this over — how could they not? To not have at least considered this would be tantamount to corporate negligence, subjecting them to a couple of hours in the corner wearing a dunce cap, at the very least. I am sure their research tells them that everything I just said flies in the face or either reality or what makes good business sense. Of course, I am assuming folks smarter than me are the ones in charge. So take that with a grain of salt.

In any event, I think it is an option worth exploring. Offering the service in yet another form that might entice a dedicated audience, but it would also emphasize cloud gaming to start building the audience of what is purported to be the future. Let that future start now.

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