The future of Game Pass: will it have exclusive content like other streaming services (Netflix, Disney, Amazon, Apple..) at some point?

So, in relation with the Game Pass growth news and also my other thread about Xbox doing more with their tentpole IPs, I found this part interesting because it made me wonder about Game Pass business and release model (never thought about it before oddly…):

Disney plans to release its movies under three different models: a traditional theatrical release; a simultaneous theatrical and Disney+ release; and exclusive Disney+ premieres, said Kareem Daniel, the new head of the company’s distribution division. This was welcome news for theater-chain operators who rely on Disney moneymakers to stay afloat some years.

Of the 100 titles announced Thursday, about 80% will premiere first on Disney+, Mr. Chapek said.

Typically, before the pandemic, new Disney movies would make their way to Disney Plus about five to eight months after they premiered in theaters. But that has changed; films hit theaters exclusively for 45 days and then immediately switch to a Disney streaming platform. But for some of its upcoming smaller movies, Disney is simply shifting films originally planned for theaters to be Disney Plus originals instead, skipping theaters entirely.

People say sometimes that Game Pass is the Netflix of video games but a big difference between Streaming Services and Game Pass is the incentive to suscribe. The former have a ton of exclusive content while the latter has 0 exclusive content (except some perks and ability to play through the Cloud).

  • Basically, if you want to watch The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you need to suscribe to Disney+.

  • If you want to watch The Witcher or Stranger Things, you need to suscribe to Netflix.

  • If you want to watch Fallout or The Lord of the Rings, you need to suscribe to Amazon Prime.

(unless you use piracy…)

On the contrary, if you want to play Starfield, The Elder Scrolls VI or Fallout 5, you don’t need Game Pass (on Xbox and PC). It’s more a convenience or an advantage (regarding your wallet) than a platform.

You suscribe because you play a lot of games and / or it’s a great deal, not because you need to.

Which is a huge difference in the end.

But what if in some years, the Windows Store is fixed, the TV app/stick is out, xCloud has left Beta and has released in more countries… and the model would change and let’s say, The Elder Scrolls VI, Fallout 5 or a hypothetical Halo 3 Anniversary or Minecraft game launch first on Game Pass (like 14 days or a month) ? = timed Game Pass exclusive (like a Premiere First)

Or instead of the huge tentpole first-party games, some smaller games. Or maybe even fully Game Pass exclusives. You get the idea.

I guess this would be a winning strategy for Game Pass by making it somehow unmissable and getting closer to a real service like the streaming services and gain more casuals. But how would feel about it ? Can you see it happening along the road ?

Do you think that Game Pass will have exclusive content (timed or full) at some point ?
  • Yes
  • No
0 voters

I believe there will streaming-only content. Remains to be seen whether streaming will always be bundled with Game Pass.

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Voted no. I don’t see this happening. To only be available in Game Pass and not be for sale via disc or digital, I can’t see Microsoft doing this or any third party publisher agreeing to it.


more like I don’t want it to, and going by what Phil has said, retail will always be an important pillar in xbox ecosystem for accessing games.


I think there will be some smaller or experimental content in the future that will debut first on Game Pass but later be sold digitally/retail, but not just for the sake of it, rather because the developers wouldn’t be sure how much it should cost or want it removed from a monetary value at first.

Exclusive only to Gamepass and not to be sold or made available in any other way?

Is that what you mean? Because Phil considers this to be a central pillar, but not the only pillar to access games.


More about a Premiere First or something like that (game is releasing first to Game Pass (let’s imagine 2 weeks) and then hits Steam, retail and non-Game Pass users on console after that.

Full Game Pass exclusive would be another (more agressive) league.

Would be for first-party games mostly.


I can see them experimenting with Gamepass exclusive games in the future .

I don’t expect third-party developers would be on board with this, at least anytime soon, and I don’t expect first-party games to be exclusive to Gamepass anytime soon.

However, in a few years, after Gamepass is well established but looking for more growth and gamers are used to it? Then I could see them branching out with some exclusive games. I don’t think they’ll rush into it though, they’ll be very careful with any change to expectations to avoid backlash and to see the response.

the only kind of instance I can think of where this would make sense and be good is what @Shpeshal_Nick had suggested ages ago on a podcast, how there might be certain licensed games that could be too expensive to make under a retail capacity, and his example was a Tennis game. Those kinda games can come into the service, everyone plays and enjoys it, and then it goes. Or if it succeeds extremely well, it can last a bit longer. Only under such a limited capacity where the game could not even be possible to make (or just super expensive) under retail can I see this being good and fine. But even that is pretty much the same as what happens to Forza games lol, and they’re still sold at retail so I can’t really think of any good case where this might be the way to go.

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For the next 3-4 years – not in the way of games or DLC or expansions, maybe in the way of cosmetics only as part of the perks. But, that all depends on how they go with the mandate of cosmetics being available outside of micro-transactions.

One of the articles mentions Chapek targets 260m. I wonder how?

I consider Nerflix tobe an upper bound for most streaming services, unless they can get newer unique visitors from very new territories where Netflix may be weak.

The shitstorm that it will cause in the console aspect to have game pass (digital) exclusive first party games will make me say they wont do this for now.

That is theoretically possible, but unlike movies or tv series, gaming is more traditional thinking and slow moving. Gamers expect a version on sale too.


Eventually yes. They won’t do it soon but it will happen.


Agree. Game market is not the same as movies/shows. Microsoft has no reason not to sell their games at $60 a pop as an alternative to Game Pass.


If Game Pass really takes of, then I can’t rule this out. They’ll try it. Eventually. Maybe years from now, but they’ll do it.

I don’t want them to, just to be clear, but I can totally see it happening if Game Pass gets big enough.

I think thats they key. Dont think now because it will absolutely backfire.

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The only kind of game I see be exclusive to Game Pass is something like WoW a MMORPG with a typical subscription service type of deal.


That reminded me, I could see getting Early Access games as a GamePass-only exclusive feature. But that’s not on the same level as exclusive fully finished titles.