Microsoft’s E3 2021 was one of its strongest showings in years, and the message was clear: Xbox Game Pass is for you. An absurd amount of content was revealed at the show, detailing a huge parade of high-quality games launching day and date into Game Pass, alongside some major first-party announcements from the likes of Bethesda, 343 Industries, and Playground Games.
Here are some thoughts of mine about the show itself, what it means for Xbox’s future, and why right now is the best time to be an Xbox gamer.
Xbox Game Pass value is absurd
Microsoft opened the show by revealing that 27 of the over 30 games shown throughout the showcase would be hitting Xbox Game Pass at launch, and variety was the name of the game. Every genre and audience was wholly catered for, while Microsoft dished out announcement after announcement of day-one Game Pass titles.
Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Starfield, and many more all showed up in force. Executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, reiterated on stage that Game Pass will see monthly additions in perpetuity, as Microsoft bets big on its nascent all-you-can-eat service. Even the biggest and staunchest Microsoft detractors cannot deny the value of Xbox Game Pass, and the showcase literally had something for everyone.
There were recent hints from Microsoft about how it plans to grow the service further, although this event was entirely about games. Still, we could hear something fairly soon about a potential cloud-only streaming service, or perhaps a family or household plan, but it wasn’t present at this time.
It’s almost getting tough to keep up with the volume of content that is already in, and coming later to Xbox Game Pass, but the variety and value continue to ramp up, akin to the early days of Netflix.
Despite showing so much, the full picture even bigger
Source: @Klobrille on Twitter
What is remarkable about this massive 30-game showcase from Microsoft, is that there are so many we still haven’t seen detailed. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, Avowed, State of Decay 3, Perfect Dark, and various others remain shrouded in mystery, poised for a full announcement at one of the year’s various other showcases. What is Compulsion Games working on? What is inXile Entertainment’s mysterious next project? What about Indiana Jones, and the rumored IO Interactive project codenamed “Dragon?” When Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda start the engine rolling, Xbox gamers will be inundated with new content on a near-constant basis.
A recipe for global expansion
Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central
It’s a great time to be an Xbox gamer.
Despite the pandemic, Microsoft showed up to deliver not only a traditional E3 showcase but an exceptional one, while many other publishers floundered or declined to make an appearance at all. The pandemic will no doubt put a big dent in the timeline for some of these releases, but it would be a lie to suggest Microsoft’s first-party content wheelhouse has been firing on all cylinders. However, Microsoft does have a ton of work to do on the platform side, as pertains to its PC content delivery systems on Windows, and localization issues that repeatedly surface. As pertains to content, though, this is the first and largely undeniable proof of real, serious change at the house of Xbox.
With cloud gaming on Game Pass, the support of Win32 and Steam on PC, and the more affordable Xbox Series S console SKU, Microsoft has a recipe for global expansion that other platforms will struggle to can’t meet. It’s only a matter of execution now, and as the world begins to cautiously err back towards some semblance of normality, Microsoft is better-placed than most to deliver on these promises. It’s a great time to be an Xbox gamer.