Xbox announces big changes to Game Pass service

First-party games are coming to Game Pass subscribers on launch day.

Microsoft’s announcement this morning made its Xbox Game Pass service a much more tantalizing offer: for the same $9.99 a month price, subscribers can play all first party releases on launch day. Now, Xbox One owners have the option of buying their first party games up front as usual or simply subscribe to Game Pass for the same day one access.

Kicking off the new initiative, Game Pass subscribers can download and play Sea of Thieves the day it launches on March 23 this year. In addition to already announced first party games like Crackdown 3 and State of Decay 2, Xbox says all future unannounced games will be available day one.

For those out of the loop, Game Pass is a Netflix-like system where over 100 games are available to subscribers with full access so long as they maintain their membership. Users don’t own the games, but in the occasion that the game is removed from the service, subscribers will be offered special price discounts to keep the game permanently. Since its launch, Xbox Game Pass has provided subscribers with a steady stream of games from a variety of publishers including 2K, Konami, Capcom, THQ North, Warner Bros., Codemasters, EA as well as indies and then expected first party titles. Each month, Xbox adds a handful of games to Game Pass, and infrequently games depart from the service.

Xbox Game Pass’ new initiative can be first enjoyed when Sea of Thieves jumps onto the subscription service when the game launches March 23.

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