In the days of yore (you probably don’t remember) games were delivered to your front door, by a postal carrier dressed in blue. Gamestop wasn’t a twinkle in a child’s eye. Worse yet, game trailers, game streamers, and games online weren’t a thing.
It was difficult to decipher by the picture on the box, by the limited description on a game magazine, what you’d committed too. Yeah, those were the dark and doubtful days of gaming. Had you picked a winner or a stinker?
Businesses sprang up to fill the void. Pay to play babysitting services filled shopping centers. Join other enthusiasts face to face. Oh boy, limited access to games.
Fast forward. I’m becoming a serious gamer after ignoring the industry for two decades. To catch up, I paid into a year-long commitment with Xbox Game pass. When Bicycle Walrus welcomed me into the world of streaming, we tried to play Sea of Thieves online.
Sitting at my command station, he asked, “What’s going on? I can’t join an online game.”
“I downloaded the game. You tell me.”
“Did you get Xbox Gold?”
“I subscribed to Xbox something. I don’t remember.” Emails provided information. “I have Xbox Game Pass.”
“That won’t do. You need Gold.”
Great. Another monthly subscription.
Eventually, I did get Gold. But I wasn’t ready to invest the time to understand the difference between the two services. Now, I am. So, let’s take a year to find out if it’s worth the price for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass, or one versus the other.
Xbox Game Pass – The Worth It Test
I won’t download every new release that comes to Game Pass. Only if it interests me. If I download at least one game a month, I’d consider that a win for me.
- Each month, I’ll tally up the price of the game(s) I would’ve had to purchase.
- At the end of the twelve-month subscription, I’ll tally up the cost of the games, and compare that to the cost of the subscription.
In the first draft of this blog, I planned to say, I had downloaded Forza Horizons ($50) and planned to give The Graveyard Keeper ($20) a try. The Graveyard Keeper was touted as a secret gem and a more ghoulish version of Stardew Valley. I’m already feeling smart for subscribing.
Then hit me over the head with a controller, Mixer’s Game Awards happened. It was announced that Game Pass had big holiday plans, three additional titles would be offered: Ashen, Kingdom Two Crowns, and Below.
Sprinkled thought out December, Game Pass will make these titles available: Mortal Kombat X and Ashen on the 7th, Pro Evolution Soccer 19 and Spintires: Mudrunner (13th), Below (14th), Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (17th), and Ori and the Blind Forest (20th).
I’ve added Ori and the Blind Forest to my list of games to play.
Xbox Live Gold – The Worth It Test
The benefits of Xbox Live Gold are similar to Xbox Game Pass that both deliver free games and discounts monthly. Where Gold differs is that this allows you to join in the online gaming community. The $60 yearly subscription won’t break my bank, but will I have the verve and vigor it takes to play online?
Stream Minecraft and requests ‘to play’ become the theme of chat. I hesitate to invite unknown players to my world in progress. While playing Minecraft’s Inspiration Island, I succumbed. Nothing horrible happened when two unknowns came aboard. We had a great time. Watch the segment on my YouTube channel. We built igloos, snowmen, and released giant square fish into the water.
One of Gold’s December free offerings is Race the Sun ($10), an indie game produced by Flippfly, began its life as a Kickstarter project. The handling of the solar ship is divine. I can fly it better than I can keep a car on the road in Forza. The dry humor is refreshing. I enjoy zoning out, avoiding the obstacles, and catching the Sun’s rays.
Another December pick, Never Alone, made my list. The cover captured my heart, the trailer stole it. Like a child counting down the days until Christmas, I’m counting the days until the 16th, when it’s available for download. Did you know you can play the fox?
- Each month, I’ll tally up the price of the game(s) I would’ve had to purchase to play.
- Did I join an online game? Invite people to play?
- At the end of the twelve-month subscription, I’ll tally up the cost of the games I downloaded, and compare that to the cost of the subscription. In December alone I believe will prove that it does.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about Xbox’s subscriptions and services. Would you tell a friend? Would you renew a subscription? Are there other criteria I should add to the test plan?
Let me know. Leave a comment.