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Game Past?

The Week in Games
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Ah Game Pass. To prove that nothing in the games industry is safe, this week saw Microsoft’s once untouchable and universally loved subscription service come under fire after a number of social media personalities announced their intention to unsubscribe. Gene Park of The Washington Post was first, “I’m unsubscribing from Xbox game pass for the first time ever. Gotta admit to myself I barely use it and barely have use for it now. I’ll be back but for now there’s no point.” This was followed shortly after by Tony Polanco of Tom’s Guide, “Unsubbed from Game Pass.” He said, “The service is great but there aren’t any AAA exclusives to compel me to stay. I’ll be back when the titles start dropping.”
Pretty innocuous really, but it doesn’t take much to cause a stir on the internet. Before long a tide of similar comments started to pour in and suddenly questions were being asked of what was previously agreed to be the ‘Best Deal in Gaming’. This prompted a typically blunt headline from Kotaku, “After years of hype,” they said. “Xbox Game Pass burnout is here.”
Microsoft was quick to respond, their cheeky retort of “Tell me you limit yourself to only AAA games without telling me you limit yourself to only AAA games…” continuing the rather breezy social media persona it has built in recent times whilst also somewhat unintentionally confirming what the article was suggesting; that despite the gargantuan studio acquisition spree it’s been on, Xbox still has a problem when it comes to AAA releases, and that Game Pass has become something of a home for indies.
Many have questioned the viability of Game Pass and how putting all of its games straight into the service could be profitable. But Microsoft has always claimed that subscribers still purchase multiple games outright too. Still, the challenge for Microsoft was always going to be keeping the momentum up, and a lack of big-hitters has made the service seem a little stagnant of late. Is it possible that in their eagerness to justify the risk of such a bold new distribution model and ensure its instant success that they simply went too big too soon? Perhaps spreading these games out over a longer period would have seen a slower but more sustainable route to long-term viability?
Of course, many people don’t cancel subscriptions even when they’re not using them, and there’s a very real chance that, as is so often the case, the issue here is being blown out of proportion - Game Pass is still one hell of a deal after all. But the simple fact that this once infallible and universally adored service is suddenly being so publicly questioned will be a concern to Microsoft. Especially following the high-profile delays to Starfield and Redfall - the service’s two biggest upcoming games.
The quantity of games on offer can’t really be questioned, and with the Xbox TV app and cloud streaming device on the way Microsoft’s plan to make Game Pass available to anybody is only just beginning. But consumers like to see change, they like new additions and fresh, exciting content. Because Microsoft have already included pretty much every game available to them in the service, it leaves them with few big announcements to make, and means Game Pass rarely generates the kind of headlines it once did.
Microsoft shook the industry with Game Pass and made consumers question the very method in which games are accessed, but the company’s studio buys need to start bearing fruit soon, or Game Pass apathy could set in sooner than anybody expected.
The responses from last week’s issue regarding subscription services were telling and a little surprising, with many expressing their dwindling enthusiasm towards them. A huge thanks to everyone who chipped in. You can check out some of the comments in the Inbox section later in this issue.
Take care everybody!
This week sees the previously delayed Top Gun expansion for Microsoft Flight Simulator finally arrive on Xbox and PC, and Sniper Elite 5 lands on PlayStation, Xbox and PC. According to Eurogamer, it is essential. One for stealth fans who have sniped everything there is to snipe in Hitman 3 perhaps…
In case you missed it last week, From Gamers Magazine Issue 3 is now available to buy and comes highly recommended. There are only around 50 physical copies left, but it’s also available digitally alongside the previous issues.
From Gamers Issue 3, and its delightful Aloy cover
From Gamers Issue 3, and its delightful Aloy cover
(PC) – May 24
(PC, iOS, Android) – May 25
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – May 25
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC) – May 26
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – May 27
(Xbox Series X/S, PC) – May 27
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – May 27
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – May 27
(PS5, Xbox Series X/S) – May 31
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – June 1
(Switch, PC) – June 2
(iOS, Android) – June 2
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch) – June 2
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – June 2
A randomly selected game each week! Any and all games are eligible for selection regardless of age, platform, popularity, or otherwise.
This week, the honour goes to…
Spec Ops: The Line (2012)
Initially masquerading as a somewhat generic but solid third-person shooter, Spec-Ops: The Line gradually and subtly transforms throughout its campaign into a sophisticated and rather harrowing commentary on the horrors of war and the psychological effect it can have on those involved.
It’s a rare modern-day shooter with the brains to match its brawn, and one with something genuinely interesting to say.
A decent shooter. An essential experience.
Another round of gaming anniversaries to make you feel old… Sorry!
Click through the links to see what people had to say about them.
Mario Galaxy 2 celebrated its 12th birthday!
Mario Galaxy 2 is 12 today!

It wasn't a huge leap forward over the original, but near-perfection isn't a bad place to start.

Galaxy 2 was the result of 25 years of platforming experience from Nintendo, and one of the most staggeringly brilliant games ever.

The best platformer?
Hitman: Blood Money is 16 years old!
IO Interactive
The cult classic Hitman: Blood Money is turning 16 today.

What was your favorite mission? 🎯
Perfect Dark first released 22 years ago!
The Game Awards
22 years ago today PERFECT DARK arrived for Nintendo 64 from @RareLtd
PAC-MAN was released 42 years ago!
PAC-MAN Official
Over 42 years I’ve had a lot of adventures and a lot of different looks!

It’s my birthday and we’re going to party all week! Get the party started by sharing your favorite PAC-MAN memories! #PACMANBirthday
Rob Fahey - GIBiz
Industry consensus over the growing importance of this model disguises deep disagreements over how it will actually work.
James Batchelor - GIBiz
Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé shares his thoughts on improving diversity, tech that will shape the industry, and how Nintendo can follow Switch.
The VM2
Chris Diaoglou - campaign not yet launched
Perfect Organism: An Alien: Isolation Companion
By Andy Kelly / Unbound
The Legend of Final Fantasy X
By Third Editions - Campaign ends June 13th
Last week’s main topic was analysis paralysis, and whether it’s possible to have too much choice. Thanks to everybody who commented!
“My PS5 plus sub is due to expire next month,” says Ben. “I won’t renew because I don’t have time for the "burden” of new games there. Even the 2 or 3 “free” offerings each month on PS, I feel I’m paying for a service I’m not utilising… for me - actually purchasing a game makes me far more invested in devoting time to it. But of course the subscription format works for a lot of people. I think we all just need to ensure we’re getting value for money with our choices.“
Like a lot of people, Pete can also suffer from analysis paralysis, and has the same problem with non-gaming subscriptions too. "I don’t like having a massive list in front of me with different choices, and that’s why I don’t subscribe to any of these gaming services. It takes me longer to pick a movie to watch on Netflix than it takes to actually watch it!”
“It’s completely possible to have too much choice,” Says the wonderfully named Cats & Cucumbers on Twitter. “I start many games and finish few as I have FOMO and fear the grass is always greener. The agony of choice.”
If you have any thoughts about this newsletter or gaming in general then please reply to this email directly, write to, or catch me on Twitter!
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…and that’s it for this week!
I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Week in Games! I’d be delighted if you would consider forwarding this email to anybody you think may like it, by sharing this link on social media, or simply telling people about it!
I’m always looking at ways to improve this newsletter, so if you have any comments, suggestions or enquiries, please reply to this email directly, write to, or catch me on Twitter!
Thanks again, I hope to see you next week!
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The Week in Games
The Week in Games @jeffsayhi

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