"The Best Place(s) to Play."
A whopping half-year since the 2020 launch of the Xbox Series consoles, it's a surprisingly late-dated new Xbox console, PC and mobile thread! Here we talk about backwards compatibility, minifridges, actually successful game subscription services, the actual meaning of the word "exclusivity", the Bethesda acquisition going through, and the totally
inevitable arrival of Xbox Game Streaming on Switch. Just a matter of time!Games with Gold
The original unified network for consoles is still alive and not increasing in price (for now)! Since the beginning of time, users with a "Xbox Live Gold" paid membership will have four free titles made available for download for limited timed--two on Xbox One (which require continued membership) and two on Xbox 360 or original Xbox (which are yours in perpetuity). As with the previous generation, all four are playable Xbox Series hardware. Yes, you do need to actually obtain them within the overlapping four-week opportunity window. Yes, you can get Xbox Live Gold through a normal subscription fee, buying discounted months of membership through vendors, or ab
using Xbox's overly-generous reward program. Following widespread pushback, Microsoft relented on a region-by-region Gold price increase as well as lifting the barrier on "Free to Play" titles, making their services available without the Gold service in the first half of 2021. While original Xbox titles are not playable on original hardware (for obvious reasons), all Xbox 360 titles are (more on that below
).Xbox Game Pass for Console, PC, and Game Pass Ultimate, or "The Best Value in Gaming!"
Like the populations of the Republic of China or Democratic People's Republic of Korea, more than 23 million people can't be wrong! Xbox Game Pass for Console is Microsoft's own subscription gaming catalog service ("Netflix for video games") with over a hundred periodically rotating titles, making it attractive for digital only libraries and people who want to try first party new exclusives (which will make the rounds on the service at the time of their launch). And now, it's been formally introduced for Windows 10 as Xbox Game Pass for PC, which includes a number of PC-only titles that can be installed through Windows 10's Store App or
Xbox App, whichever you prefer. However, both services come with their own separate fees. If you want them both, you may wish to consider the Caddilac of Netflix for Games, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: for less than the cost of the both individual services, you can have your Xbox Game Pass on Console and PC and
Xbox Live Gold subscriptions in a single plan! Because nothing bad ever came from bundling services! For the time being, it remains possible to extend your Game Pass subscription based on unrelated services "credit" (for example, one year of EA Access translates to four months of Game Pass Ultimate), so make sure you do your research when you're stocking up. Oh yeah, it's complicated
In either service, there is no limit on how many games you can download and install from it, and access is for as long as the subscription holds--permanent purchases made from the catalog are discounted 20%, and DLC by 10%. It still does not
require Xbox Live Gold (though that is part of Game Pass Ultimate). Since 2020, Game Pass Ultimate comes with an additional perk you may be familiar with...Xbox Game Streaming
Like Google's Stadia that everyone's been talking about and the Playstation Now service that Sony never talks about, Xbox Game Streaming (formerly "Project Xcloud") replaces your grandparents' Xbox game from the ancient era of streaming a console over your home network to the sexy future of piping your game in from The Cloud on your mobile devices. No longer in free beta, it is now part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (and presently available on Android phones, though Microsoft has finally acknowledged bringing the service to Windows 10 and there's some weird stuff going on with iOS, check back later). Play console-quality games on mobile! Take advantage of all the normal Xbox Live services! Drain your phone battery before you know it! Still probably not coming to other consoles no matter how hard you ask, but you know where it is coming? Windows 10 personal computers through your desktop!
Streaming available in the following regions, courtesy of XDA-Developers
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
A full list of current Xbox Game Streaming titles
is available courtesy of the excellent Windows Central website, alongside a full list of touch-compatible titles which are playable without the prerequisite compatible controller.Xbox Backwards Compatibility Library
Say hello to the most extensive backwards compatibility library since Sony left the Playstation 3 unconscious in a bathtub full of ice! Since early in the Project Scarlett reveal, Microsoft has committed to bringing the whole of the Xbox One library forward to the Xbox Series consoles, alongside the existing Xbox One-era software backwards compatibilty libraries on all previous Xbox consoles since 2001 excluding Kinect-based titles on Xbox 360 and Xbox One
. Yes, we are as shocked as you. In addition to almost six hundred Xbox 360 titles and more than forty "Original Xbox" titles, the whole Xbox One library should be
is available, with visual upgrades on a case to case basis (including resolution multiplying, framerate improvements, and Auto-HDR, which can be manually accessed on a per game basis--check out the Backwards Compatibility page for any given game's settings). Curious if your favorite Xbox 360 or older game is playable? Check it out!Xbox Series S and Series X joining Xbox One
Yes, many of us are still waiting on our new consoles. For the luckier among us, here's some of what we're enjoying and what we're looking forward to!2021 Xbox Summer Games Showcase (ft. Bethesda and a bunch of other companies)!
(Captioned Audio and ASL versions available on Xbox's Youtube Channel.
)Penny Arcade Forums' Game ClubsPax ArcadiaArcade Squad
(Gears of War
series)The Bees Knees
Additionally, you can find the forums Xbox Live gamertag list here
, and the form to sign up here