Today on Microsoft’s Xbox Wire, Phil Spencer gave a glimpse at some of the company’s big plans for E3 by announcing a PC version of the subscription-based Xbox Game Pass. The Game Pass service for PC was first announced during the company’s first quarter earnings conference call in October 2018. According to Microsoft and Spencer, the pass gives subscribers access to “over 100 titles” and will help demonstrate Microsoft’s interest in the PC platform and gamers with PC preferences.
In the post, Spencer discusses the importance of player choice to the overall gaming experience, and emphasizes that the PC offers “unique benefits.” Microsoft is of course known for their Xbox gaming console, but as the company behind Windows, Microsoft feels they “have a unique responsibility to ensure [they’re] investing in experiences that benefit players everywhere, while respecting the PC community’s preference for an open, highly customizable platform.”
While the name of the subscription service seems to be staying the same as its console cousin, the PC version of the pass is “a new experience that [Microsoft is] building together with the PC community.” Microsoft is partnering with “over 75 content partners,” including Bethesda, Devolver Digital, Deep Silver, Sega, and many other major publishers to flesh out the games this service will have on offer.
We’ve not always lived up to our aspiration of keeping gamers at the center of everything we do when it comes to the experience they’ve had on Windows.
In addition to the announcement of the Game Pass for PC gamers, Spencer also wrote that future Xbox titles like Gears 5 and the Age of Empires collection may also be made available on the Steam store. Spencer also suggests that they may make it to other PC gaming storefronts too, further emphasizing the importance of choice and preference to the PC gaming market.
Further news in this announcement from Microsoft for PC gamers is support for Win32 games on Windows 10. Spencer wrote that Microsoft “recognize[s] that Win32 is the app format that game developers love to use and gamers love to play.” Microsoft is making it so that the Microsoft Store on Windows will have full native support for native Win32 games, which will “unlock more options for developers and gamers alike.”
When I think about the role we play as a company to support and evolve gaming on Windows, it’s critical that we make decisions that reinforce the open nature of the PC, focusing on how best to unite players on all devices around the games they love.
Details on pricing or the release date of the Game Pass for PC are not available yet, but Microsoft has scheduled discussion on the PC version of the Game Pass for their E3 conference and will be talking about it during their Xbox E3 briefing at 1 PM, PT on June 9th.