Sunday, October 01, 2023
Before it leaves
Earlier this year I had the idea that I should play some more of the games that I have access to via my subscription to Xbox Game Pass for PC. The general idea behind that was that I am currently paying €120 per year for that subscription, and I should get my usual value proposition of 1 hour per Euro spent out of this to make the subscription worth it. I am very well aware of the danger of subscribing to too many services, and I am regularly checking my subscriptions to see whether I am still getting my money's worth out of them.
In the process of looking at Game Pass games that I might want to play, I installed some of them, but then didn't immediately get around to playing them. Today I tried to play one of these installed games, and it turned out that it had left Game Pass since I installed it, and I wasn't able to play it without paying extra anymore. The funny thing that prompted me to make a post about it was that the name of the game that had left Game Pass is Before We Leave. Yeah, I should have played this before it left.
Now by all accounts Before We Leave is a pretty average city-builder, and if I can't play it for free, I'm not going to buy it instead. No biggie. But it made me more aware of the disadvantage of Game Pass, that there are quite a lot of games leaving the service every month. Somebody on Reddit compiled a master list for all Game Pass games, and it has 11 games coming soon, over 500 games currently active (either for XBox, PC, or both), and over 700 games that have left the platform. While Steam also has 783 delisted games, that is of course from a much, much larger library of games, and in most cases you can still install and play a delisted game on Steam if you bought it before it got removed.
Before We Leave was on Game Pass for 17 months, and it seems the median duration for a game on Game Pass is around 1 year. Not counting the games that are on the service permanently, usually because they are Microsoft games. No Age of Empires game has ever been removed from Game Pass. I think the lesson here for me is that I need to check the games on Game Pass more frequently, and then play any game I am interested in immediately. Having said that, with the 20 hours I put into Starfield I am now up to 60 hours played in 2023, and the upcoming League of Lamplighters alone is likely to get me over the 120 hours total. It was easier in previous years, where for example I played Humankind for over 70 hours alone. 2023 is a weird year for gaming, with a larger than usual number of high-profile releases. Which doesn't seem to be sustainable, but that would be the subject of another post.