The idea of a "Netflix for video games" isn't new by any means. Sony offers PlayStation Now which uses the old OnLive/Gaikai streaming option to deliver gaming experiences, while services like GameFly have been sending out rental discs by mail for years, but now Microsoft is set to deliver the best of both worlds with its Xbox Game Pass. For $9.99 a month, subscribers can download a selection of Xbox 360 and Xbox One games to their Xbox One and play them. No waiting for discs in the mail and no dealing with latency and buffering issues that come with a streaming service. Matt Kim at USgamer sums it up.
This includes both Xbox One games and backward compatible Xbox 360 titles. Some of the launch titles include Halo 5, PayDay 2, and NBA 2K16. You can see a full list of available launch games on Microsoft’s website.
This is an amazing deal if you like to jump from game to game, don't always need to play the latest and greatest releases, and aren't interested in permanent ownership. I wish Sony would offer something like this for the PlayStation 4, and of course Nintendo fans have been clamoring for something similar for the Virtual Console service since the dawn of the Wii a decade ago. While streaming games are the future, the infrastructure is not there yet on the consumer end to make it worthwhile and ISPs imposing data caps & penalty charges for consuming too much data pretty much kill the prospect of using such a service, while mailing discs is out of the past as nobody wants to wait around for a game to arrive in our instant gratification culture. Microsoft's solution to offer on-demand full downloads fits neatly into the present. Good work, Microsoft. Thanks for doing the right thing here.