XBOX game pass for PC

I recently picked up XBox game pass for PC. It was (is if your reading this soon after posting!) $1 for the first month and $5/month after that currently…. although i fully expect that the price will substantially increase if it manages to take off.

I subscribed to Xbox game pass purely to play “the outer worlds” without having to wait for 6 months for it to turn up on steam. While it is available via the epic games store – full price simply doesn’t compare to $1 (even though the outer worlds is worth every cent of its full price tag)

So – keep in mind that Xbox game pass is in Beta (which is watered down somewhat by the fact that “beta” is increasingly used as a long term excuse for a shit product)

  • The library of games is OK – but not great. For $1 or the reverting price of $5 month it is pretty good. I played “dead cells” for example because it was available via the pass – and discovered how absolutely fucking brilliant that game is. Overall though, there would maybe only be 5-6 games that im truly interested in on the current list… clearly very much based on personal preferences.
  • The speed and responsiveness of the client is just terrible. Clicking a game results in a 10-15 second wait for the main information screen to show, downloads of games are excruciatingly slow – be ready to leave your PC on overnight in order to download a couple of your games. Once your in game, all is good….
  • The app regularly “black screens” (which appears to be a common issue). This is sometimes resolved by restarting the client and sometimes by restarting the PC.
  • The app regularly doesn’t automatically log in
  • The app, if shutdown 1/2 way through a download will commonly “lose” all knowledge about that app, and you’ll need to go back into the store and re-select “install”. So don’t bother queuing up 4 or 5 installs unless you plan on leaving your PC on overnight.
  • Because it downloads everything as “WindowsApps”, most people will have to change their default windows app install location to their larger drive. This ofcourse sets the default for all windows apps – not just the games – this is just poor design. The config/save files etc can also be difficult to find due to the whacky folder structure – but to be fair, steam suffers from this a little as well – as there are no industry standards for this.
  • And perhaps the biggest downside, the app has been shoe-horned in as a way to get people onto the latest versions of Windows 10. While this isn’t an issue for me, i imagine it will be for some people – but more to the point, its that the thinking around the app/storefront seems to be “let leverage this to force Win 10 upgrades and windows apps usage” as opposed to “lets make a genuinely good game storefront/platform to challenge steams dominance and encourage crossplay between Xbox and PC”


To sum up – ill be keeping my Xbox game pass (for PC) for at least a few months – primarily because it represents good value for money right now. Given where Microsoft seem to have their focus, i wouldn’t be surprised if this goes the same way as the ultra-successful “games for Windows live” – but i would also be happy to be wrong!


*** Update – September 2020 ***

I have ended my subscription to gamepass a few months back…. i quite liked the games that were available overall…. and with the purchase of bethesda – its only going to keep getting better…. but… the major issue is… it doesn’t work reliably. The killer for me was Gears tactics – a decent game, which i would have been, maybe 3/4 of the way through… then a game update was released… and it simply would not update. Tried a bunch of things, posted on support forums, tried (unsuccessfully) to get any type of support – and there is just no decent support available for the platform. Public suggestions all revolve around clearing the cache…. about as useful as the people that suggest running sfc /scannow for any and all server issues.

The games available make game pass for PC a decent value option…. but until MS abandon the insane “must use windows store” approach – and replace it with a dedicated, made for gaming platform, hopefully one that works – it is unfortunately worth $0…. as it just doesn’t work.

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