Microsoft has just announced that they’re working on launching a new subscription-based service that will work in a way similar to Netflix, but instead of bringing movies and TV series, it will deliver more than 100 video game titles when launched this spring.
According to a press release from Microsoft, the new service will be called Xbox Game Pass and rotate through a variety of games for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PCs running Windows 10. The monthly fee will be $9.99. Obviously, gamers can’t expect to get instant access to the latest releases that go for as much as $80 in stores. However, information provided by Microsoft shows that it will include many of the major titles that were recently released, such as Halo 5: Guardians and NBA 2K16.
The games offered through the service remain accessible to members for as long as they keep renewing their monthly subscription. Microsoft is planning to allow players who cancel their subscription to permanently buy some of their favorite games at a 20 percent discount.
While a similar service called PlayStation Now is offered by Sony, Microsoft’s main competitor in the gaming console industry, Xbox Game Pass has some elements that give it a clear advantage. Sony’s service may offer a slightly bigger selection of game, but it comes at a higher price tag of $19.99 per month.
Unlike PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Pass will let players download full games to their consoles, thus eliminating any worries about Internet speeds and connectivity issues affecting the gaming experience. Even though the service hasn’t been made available to the public yet, a select few gamers have the chance to try it out right away. They’re members of Xbox Insider, a program letting gamers try out new titles or gaming services before their official launch dates. The pre-release version isn’t guaranteed to be fully functional and only features a limited number of titles. Comments from those who tried it have been quite positive so far, with many showing optimism that Xbox Game Pass will offer an interesting selection of games when launched.
There is bad news for anyone looking forward to living out their dreams of finally becoming a dragon-rider. Slated for a 2017 release as a Xbox exclusive, “Scalebound” was set to put you in the shoes of Drew and fight along side his dragon companion, Thuban, in the world of Draconis . This ambitious action RPG, developed by PlatinumGames, promised a beautifully rendered world with an unique combat system allowing you to issue commands to your dragon friend. A few of these included various abilities ranging from breathing fire on enemies to destroying certain targets within the game’s environment with the press of a button. Over the past two and a half years, a ton of gameplay videos has excited gamers world-wide with their enticing footage causing many to jump on the hype train and eagerly await the game’s release date.
After several delays, since its debut at E3 2014, and a plethora of signs pointing to the dreaded “development hell” many games fell victim to over the years, it was announced Jan. 10 that the game is no longer heading to xbox and is effectively cancelled.
A spokesperson from Microsoft contacted online gaming site Kotaku and other press outlets saying, “After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for ‘Scalebound.’ We’re working hard to deliver an amazing lineup of games for our fans this year, including ‘Halo Wars,’ ‘Crackdown 3,’ ‘State of Decay 2,’ ‘Sea of Thieves’ and other great experiences,” devastating fans and confirming the rumors of cancellation that surfaced in the weeks prior.
This is, without a doubt, a blow to the developer; however, with critically acclaimed titles such as the “Bayonetta” series and the “Neir” series, this will not be the last time we hear from PlatinumGames.
Microsoft has revealed that Scalebound, one of the biggest upcoming games from Xbox has been annulled. Published by Microsoft, the game was scheduled for launching on both PC and Xbox One.
The Development of Scalebound
Scalebound had risen to head several lists of the “Most Anticipated Games” and formed a section of top titles set to hit Microsoft’s console besides Sea of Thieves pirate game, strategy title Halo Wars 2,and Crackdown 3 the open-world action game.
Reports from Eurogamer indicate that last fall, a number of key members of the game’s development team were compelled to step away for a month from the project due to what was described as project’s heavy workload pressure. When they came back, project Scalebound was behind schedule and it was decided not to proceed with the game.
The Future of Scalebound
Fans of Scalebound will now have to sit tight and see whether the game’s original developers will opt to proceed with this video game separately from the current Microsoft partnership.
Even though Platinum has received critical acclaim for lots of their video games over the years, mainstream success has tended to always elude them. It is not clear whether the Scalebound project could still be carried on under the supervision of Platinum Games studio. It is hoped that Nier: Automata will help in keeping Platinum Games afloat as they seek pick up from this blow triggered by the Microsoft cancellation.
Scalebound has been under development for over 4 years, being developed by Platinum Games, the Japanese studio that is best known for their fast-paced action titles such as Vanguish and Bayonetta. The cancelation of such a highly promoted AAA game after 4 years of development is already been viewed as being an unprecedented move by industry experts, but to have the footage of its existence removed is particularly odd.
Over the past few years Microsoft has gone a long way in getting people excited for their major announcements at E3. It is expected that they will have a press conference on Monday morning in which they will announce two new consoles. One console will be a lightweight version of the Xbox One. The other is currently called Scorpio, and it is said to be a more powerful next gen console.
There are also rumors of an Xbox streaming stick or device that allows players to stream their games with very little set-up. Video game streaming has become a major cultural trend and every major company is developing new ideas in that realm.
Microsoft apparently wants to link the consoles to PC games a bit closer. Rumor has it that Cortana, the Windows 10 voice-activated system, might be utilized in this new set-up.
In recent years, Sony has been beating Microsoft in sales and most agree that Sony games are of a higher quality. Microsoft appears to be under quite a bit of pressure. There is a belief that if Microsoft doesn’t have a big announcement, there could be an internet backlash.
The walls between PC and console continue to crumble. Xbox One exclusive games will be released simultaneously on PC. It is rumored that Halo 5’s campaign mode might be playable on PC.
This year’s E3 is looking to be a crucial event for Microsoft as far as public perception goes. It will be interesting to see if they can deliver.