Xbox Game Pass had a game-changing year in 2021, representing true value for money, but will this continue in 2022?
Despite launching in 2017, it was 2021 that was a truly transformative year for Xbox Game Pass. Perhaps it was because people were spending more time in their homes, or because late 2020 saw the launch of two new Xbox consoles. While these factors certainly contributed to the success of Xbox Game Pass in 2021, we think there’s a simpler explanation – value for money.
According to The Loadout, in 2021 Xbox Game Pass added more than $6,300 worth of games to the service. So, when you consider how much it costs per month ($14.99 for the top tier), compared to how much it costs to buy these games at launch, or have access to all the others, the savings are immediately obvious. Gamers are realizing this in droves – and so are Xbox’s competitors.
Xbox Game Pass: The future of gaming?
It’s entirely plausible, that by next-gen or the gen after that, Xbox Game Pass could outlive Xbox consoles. Phil Spencer has openly discussed the idea of bringing the service to other platforms in the future. This would allow the brand to transcend its origins and redefine itself as a gaming service that’s available wherever people choose to play.
However, it’s also increasingly likely that Nintendo and PlayStation create their own rival services to Xbox Game Pass. After all, Sony has already confirmed it’s doing exactly that in 2022, and who can blame them?
On paper, it looks like the PS5 was the winner of 2021, finally nudging the Nintendo Switch off its sales perch. Although with over 23 million subscribers at the time of writing, we’d give the 2021 trophy to Xbox Game Pass in a heartbeat.
Why has Xbox Game Pass been so successful in 2021?
It could be argued that the stock issues surrounding the Xbox Series X and PS5 drove many gamers into the arms of the Xbox Game Pass service in 2021. Let’s not forget, the Series S console was readily available throughout the year, and at a much cheaper price too. This little powerhouse feels built for the service. Its lack of disk drive means that players are naturally going to look for other means of experiencing their favorite games.
Gamers who originally opted for Sony’s PS5 this gen may have been tempted to double-dip in 2021, seeing the Xbox Series S as a complementary companion device to their PS5. A Game Pass subscription with day-one access to all Xbox IPs may just have been the icing on the cake. Xbox Game Pass is also available on all versions of the Xbox One too, not to mention PC and mobile.
It also helps that this year has been all about the games. From first-party juggernauts like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, to day one launches of titles like Outriders and MLB The Show, there’s been something for everyone on Game Pass in 2021.
Xbox Game Pass represents true value for money
To those who’ve been subscribed to Xbox Game Pass for a while, the concept of paying $50 for a game at launch may even start to feel a little archaic and nonsensical. Why would anyone do this when so many appear on launch day as part of your subscription? It’s amazing to see how quickly this mindset appears for subscribers, and it’s reasonable to assume that this is causing some concern to Nintendo and Sony. It may even be what the future of gaming looks like.
Microsoft’s purchase of Zenimax Media, which includes the beloved Bethesda Softworks adds another significant string to the Xbox bow. It also means PS5 owners are unlikely to ever see games like The Elder Scrolls 6, Fallout 5, or Starfield. These are games that will now, more than likely, bolster the Xbox Game Pass library when they eventually arrive.
Xbox Game Pass in 2022 and beyond
Bethesda’s catalog of 30 games being added to Xbox Game Pass in 2021 represents over $600 worth of entertainment, while the annual price of admission is a mere fraction of this. Not to mention everything else that’s already included in the service. First-party games like Gears 5, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite are also included on Xbox Game Pass, making the service the best place to experience these titles going forward.
As 2021 draws to a close and we begin to welcome in 2022, the future looks bright for the Xbox Game Pass service, but more importantly, the value it provides to consumers. We look forward to seeing what else comes to the service, and what other companies create to compete with it. Competition is healthy, and it’s usually the customer who benefits.