Xbox Game Pass is about to come into its own this year, with a stacked end-of-year lineup.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Xbox Game Pass is one of the best deals in gaming right now. Offering over a hundred games on Xbox consoles, Windows PCs, and even your existing phone or tablet, it’s the natural extension of Microsoft’s “Play Anywhere” philosophy – and it means that maybe your next purchase of an Xbox console can wait for a little while longer.
And, whisper it, but you may not need to drop your money on a PS5, either. While Deathloop, Returnal, and plenty more have shown that Sony still dominates when it comes to console exclusives (and timed exclusives), the console still isn’t easily purchasable for many.
Some caveats, then – firstly, no, I’m not saying you should never buy a new console. Xbox Series X and S will undoubtedly take your Game Pass library to the next level, while the PS5 has become my console of choice due to its fantastic software lineup and the innovative Dualsense.
Secondly, while you’ll get more from Xbox Game Pass if you have even an Xbox One or a capable gaming PC, the fact that the games we’ll be reeling off can often be streamed to your phone or tablet will only appeal if you have the infrastructure for it.
Microsoft finally offers a quality first-party lineup
It’d be fair to say that despite the excitement over the Xbox Series X last year, the PlayStation 5 was off to a stronger start in terms of games. With Halo Infinite punted into 2022, Sony dominated the launch window of both consoles with the likes of Demon’s Souls and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
This Holiday, though, it’s a little different. Sony pushing Horizon: Forbidden West to next year has led to a bit of a gap in PS5’s lineup for the rest of the year – and it’s something Microsoft is prepared to take advantage of with the likes of Forza Horizon 5 and, of course, Halo Infinite. Both of those games are launching within a month of each other, and both will arrive on Game Pass on day one.
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Honestly, I think Sony is going to dominate 2022 with God of War Ragnarok, Forspoken, Gran Turismo 7, and the aforementioned Horizon: Forbidden West, but there’s a gap here for Microsoft to win back a share of the market – in Game Pass subscriptions more than console sales.
The third-party X-factor for Xbox Game Pass
That’s not all, though. If Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite aren’t your thing, then Microsoft has done a great job at securing third-party titles for Xbox Game Pass. Looking for a unique shooter? Lemnis Gate joins the service in September. Gorgeous open-world exploration? Try Sable. Seriously, there’s a bit of everything there.
Back 4 Blood, the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, is also arriving on Xbox Game Pass in October as a tentpole third-party title, following in the likes of Sony’s own MLB The Show and Outriders from earlier this year. Then there’s the life-devouring allure of Football Manager 2022, and as we approach that all-important holiday window, what else could Microsoft add?
So, maybe you don’t need an Xbox console. Hell, maybe you don’t need a PlayStation for now, either, and can bide your time for a few more months. While I fully expect Sony to drop banger after banger in 2022, that Xbox Game Pass subscription is likely to come into its own next year, too – Arkane’s Redfall, Bethesda’s Starfield, and plenty more are coming.