Microsoft today took the wraps off a new subscription service that will allow gamers to play over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games for a monthly fee of $9.99. Dubbed Xbox Game Pass by Microsoft, the service will be instantly familiar to anyone who takes advantage of EA Access, a service that offers EA games for a flat fee each month.

The key difference between Xbox Game Pass and EA Access is obviously the inclusion of games from publishers other than EA. During the announcement, Microsoft was keen to highlight the big name players that will be offering their games as part of the subscription service.

The list is a long one and should ensure that there will be something for everyone’s taste when the service goes live later this Spring. Publishers currently on board with Xbox Game Pass include 2K, 505 Games, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, SEGA, SNK CORPORATION, THQ Nordic GmbH, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft Studios itself.

Microsoft is keen to point out that the service is not one of the streaming variety, with each game being downloaded to a user’s Xbox One for playing in just the same way they are downloaded when purchased.

Microsoft will allow games to be played offline for up to 30 days, with the decision not to stream games apparently made due to bandwidth concerns from gamers who were canvassed during the service’s development.

One of the best things about Xbox Game Pass is that you can discover and download the full titles directly on your Xbox One. That means continuous, full-fidelity gameplay without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues.

In addition to access to games via Xbox Game Pass, subscribers will also receive discounts on in-game content and season passes – something previously only available as part of special sales or via Xbox Live subscriptions. On that note, it’s worth mentioning that an Xbox Live subscription will not be required in order to take advantage of Xbox Game Pass.

The whole shebang goes live later this Spring, and has the potential to be something of a game changer for the Xbox One. It also means we will all need to get bigger hard drives for all these games we are going to be downloading!

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