Three years subscribed to Game Pass, and I’m running out of reasons to keep paying.
In 2021 I added up the retail cost of all the games I had played on Xbox Game Pass that year and discovered that I saved $382. I wouldn’t have purchased every game I played, but that just made the service feel even more valuable to me. It gave me the opportunity to save money on games I was going to play anyway, and discover great games I would have avoided. For the first few years I subscribed to Game Pass, it added a lot of value to my life.
I’ve never let my Game Pass subscription lapse, but lately I’ve been thinking it's time to give it a break. I opened the desktop app for the first time in a month the other day, and realized that not only have I been paying for it and not using it, but there isn’t much on there I would want to play anyway.
Part of the problem is just the natural exhaustion of content. I’ve had Game Pass for so long that I’ve already played a lot of what it has to offer. At this point I’m not going to discover any older games on there that I haven’t played before. I’ve gone looking plenty of times, I’ve dug up the things I’m interested in, and I don’t need to scour the depths of Game Pass for hidden gems anymore.
The only thing I really need to pay attention to at this point is the Recently Added feed, but lately that’s become a problem. A lot of the ‘new’ games on Game Pass these days aren’t new games at all, they’re older games that are already available elsewhere. In the past few weeks Game Pass has added Guilty Gear Strive, Civilization 6, Ni No Kuni 2, Goat Simulator, Loop Hero, Ghostwire Tokyo, Mass Effect 2 and 3, and readded Quantum Break. I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to find forgotten classics on Game Pass, but these games aren’t that old. I’ve either played all these games, or already know I’m not interested in them.
I’m not finding enough new things on Game Pass these days, and I’m afraid that has a lot to do with the pace and the kind of games Microsoft has been releasing. I love when new indies like Cassette Beasts and The Last Case of Benedict Fox pop up because those are the exact kinds of games I’d like to try but may be hesitant to outright buy, but if there’s only going to be one or two games like that each month, I might as well just buy them and save the subscription fee.
It would be a whole different story if Microsoft was releasing four or five triple-A games a year, like Phil Spencer said it was going to do back in 2020, but that hasn’t panned out. Just four $70 games each year would cover the cost of Game Pass and make it worth it, but when the game is Redfall, well, let’s just say Game Pass isn’t adding a lot of value for its customers.
I’m still hopeful for Starfield, and I like that I’ll be able to play it ‘for free’ on Game Pass later this year – especially because I won’t feel as bad if it sucks – but one big daddy game just ain’t cutting it. A new subscriber would find a lot more to love on Game Pass than I am these days, but if something doesn’t change soon I think it might be time to give my subscription a pause and go back to buying the games I’m interested in playing.
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Eric Switzer is Features Editor that specializes in Pokemon, VR, and tech coverage. He is also the host of TheGamer Podcast, now entering its second year. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.