A new report claims that 48% of gamers play on PCs. For me, that is no surprise. Building and upgrading a gaming PC is both enjoyable and the best way to customise your gaming experience. PC gamers can constantly stay ahead of the curve by applying incremental updates as new technology becomes available. But where should PC gamers turn for the best games if they have just whacked a shiny new XLR8 2070 SUPER and a stack of high-performance gaming RAM into their gaming rig? The Xbox Game Pass for PC (beta) might just be the answer.
Disclosure: The products mentioned in this article were provided free of charge to Blog of Dad for review purposes. All opinions about the products are my own, based on my experiences.
There are some big players vying for the attention (and dollars) of PC gamers. Steam has been around for years and has a comprehensive library, Epic has enticed subscribers with regular free games and Origin houses the popular EA franchises. But as far as pure bang-for-buck access to an extensive library of top-quality games is concerned, the Xbox Game Pass for PC is absolutely brilliant!
Australian PC gamers can use Xbox Game Pass for PC to access over 100 games each month, including some of the biggest titles like Forza Horizon 4, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Gears 5 and (my personal favourite) Microsoft Flight Simulator. Games come and go each month, which gives PC gamers the perfect opportunity to maintain a fresh library of the latest offerings. The best bit? The cost (at the time of writing) is just AUD $4.99 per month. To me, this represents truly amazing value in gaming. If you are still not convinced, Microsoft are offering the first month for just $1! So you don’t have much to lose by giving it a go.
If you grow particularly attached to a game that is about to be removed from Xbox Game Pass for PC, Microsoft offer discounts to purchase the game outright.
To put this deal in perspective, I have fond memories of traipsing down to the local Video Ezy and slapping down about that amount for a couple of solid nights of new release Megadrive action. The child-version of me would be amazed by this unprecedented access to games for so little outlay. To be honest, the adult version of me certainly is! As a dad who briefly lost touch with his video gaming passion (babies are demanding!), Xbox Game Pass has been the perfect way for me to dive right back into the great pond of videogames!
The Games – Xbox Game Pass for PC
Xbox Game Pass for PC holds a vast library of games, from big-budget Microsoft exclusives to quirky little independent games.
Some of these titles, such as Halo, Forza, Gears of War and Crackdown started life as console titles, but have been optimized for PC. The Halo: Master Chief Collection, for example, states that it is:
“…now optimized for PC with mouse and keyboard support, native PC features, up to 4K and at least 60FPS (dependent on system specifications). Many games in the collection will include other setting options like ultrawide support, uncapped frame rate, adaptive sync support, FOV customization and more.”
Those who prefer the more traditionally PC, strategy games will be thrilled to find games such as Age of Empires, Europa Universalis Halo Wars, Rise of Nations and (fittingly) Pandemic amongst many others. Remember, the titles included with Xbox Game Pass for PC change over time, so it is worth scrolling through the list to see what is available.
Searching through the full list of games reveals that there is something for just about everyone on Xbox games pass. Gamers of all ages, genders and with varying interests should be able to find something that makes the $4.99 monthly cost a worthwhile investment in their entertainment portfolio.
Xbox Game Studios games arrive on Game Pass the day they are launched, so there is no waiting around while everyone else has all the fun. I downloaded Microsoft Flight Simulator via Xbox Game Pass the day after release and the process was smooth, even with over 90GB of data to download. Some people reported a couple of issues on the previous day, but it seems to me like Microsoft have dedicated vast resources to making the experience work well.
The Xbox Game Pass for PC is labelled as Beta, but my experience of the product has been extremely slick so far. Everything seems to work as it should – even using the Xbox Game Pass Android app to send new games to my PC remotely.
Most significantly, the Xbox Game Pass has opened my gaming world to a whole range of games that I otherwise never would have experienced. Games like Tacoma and Deliver Us The Moon had been on my radar because of their interesting-sounding storylines, but in reality I wouldn’t have bothered to spend money on games that might not be my cup of tea. Xbox Game Pass takes away that risk, enabling me to greatly broaden my horizons. Everyone wins! (especially me, who gets to experience Deliver Us The Moon’s ray tracing goodness on my awesome PNY GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition GPU!
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Most Xbox owners would already be familiar with the console version of Xbox Game Pass and have been taking advantage of all it offers for quite some time. Those fortunate enough to play on both console and PC should very strongly consider Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Ultimate combines both console and PC versions of Xbox Game Pass, plus it includes Xbox Live Gold and some exclusive free perks such as in-game content and partner offers. It offers exceptional value at AUD $15.95 per month.
Get Game Ready
My recent article on the DIY PC build gives some great pointers for anyone looking to build a gaming/multifunction PC that is worthy of the Xbox Game Pass for PC. I don’t mean to brag, but it feels pretty great every time a game like Forza Horizon 4 recommends running on Ultra settings. Check out the article for details, or these specifications from my build:
- Processor: Intel Core i7-6700 3.4GHz
- Graphics: PNY GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition
- VRAM: 8GB
- RAM: 32GB XLR8 DDR4 3200MHz
- Storage: 500GB XLR8 CS2311 SSD
- Case: be quiet! Silent Base 801
The PNY GeForce RTX 2070 Super XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition GPU has excelled in every gaming experience that I have thrown at it. Even Microsoft Flight Simulator runs well on high settings. You will paying a lot more if you want to push those graphics into ultra.
Xbox Game Pass for PC is doing for games what Spotify did for music and Netflix for entertainment. It is using a subscription model to unlock access to a huge amount of gaming goodness for an impressively small cost. Like with TV streaming services, users will have to get used to not “owning” the content and things might disappear from time to time, which could be frustrating. However, if you ever stumble across a game through Xbox game Pass that you must keep for ever, Microsoft do provide the option to buy it. For my mind, it is a brilliant model that enables gamers to get the most out of each hard-earned dollar, and provides game developers with far greater exposure to their audience. I highly recommend taking advantage of the $1 trial and experiencing for yourself all the wonders it has to offer!