Microsoft is pushing Xbox Game Pass as the centerpiece of its gaming strategy and the company is looking to bring the service to its competitors, including consoles like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5.
Xbox Game Pass is hailed by many as one of the best deals in gaming. For $17 a month, gamers have the ability to download hundreds of games to their Xbox console or PC. They can stream games, get discounts from the console’s storefront, and even enjoy newly released games on launch day. Blockbuster releases like Starfield, Lies of P, and Persona 3 Reload all received day-one availability on Xbox Game Pass.
PlayStation and Nintendo tried to replicate what Xbox Game Pass does, but their efforts are not without caveats. The revamped PlayStation Plus is still limited in its streaming options and lags behind Xbox’s day-one approach to new games. On the other hand, the Nintendo Switch Online service exclusively has retro games on offer for subscribers.
Xbox Game Pass on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 consoles would be amazing for gamers and at least one of these companies wants to make that a reality. But is there any chance that this could happen?
Is Xbox Game Pass coming to PlayStation 5?
Xbox CFO Tim Stuart stated that he wants to bring the Game Pass subscription service to rival consoles like the Switch and PlayStation, as well as anything else capable of playing games.
Xbox CFO Tim Stuart discussed Xbox’s mission during the recent Wells Fargo TMT Summit. In Stuart’s words, Xbox’s mission is to bring its “first-party experiences and subscription services to every screen capable of playing games.” When pressed on this, Stuart elaborated that this would include smart TVs, mobile devices, and even consoles from PlayStation and Nintendo.
Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure could allow it to execute on this. Xbox Game Pass currently stands as the most accessible tool for playing games, with functionality on PC, Xbox consoles, and mobile devices. If the service can work on phones and tablets, there’s little reason it couldn’t work on rival consoles.
That said, it’s not likely that Xbox Game Pass lands on PlayStation consoles. Sony initially rejected the EA Access program, which is now part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription. The company argued in a statement that EA Access was not offering good value for PlayStation fans at the time and that fans are more interested in subscription plans that provide access to a wide range of services.
Offering Xbox Game Pass on PlayStation consoles would strengthen a competitor that told courts that its future hinges on the success of Game Pass. Not only that, but it would also potentially disincentivize people from buying games through the PlayStation Store or subscribing to PlayStation Plus.
Is Xbox Game Pass coming to Nintendo Switch?
Xbox Game Pass coming to the Nintendo Switch has not been confirmed, but could be possible at some point.
As mentioned earlier, Xbox’s plan is to bring its first-party experiences and services to every screen capable of playing games. Given the success of the Nintendo Switch, there’s no question that Xbox would like to have the service available on the platform and its eventual successor.
Microsoft has been actively seeking a working relationship with Nintendo, ranging from strategic partnerships to hostile takeovers. As part of this, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer confirmed that Call of Duty will be on Nintendo consoles for a 10-year period following the merger of Microsoft and Activision, which was finalized earlier this year.
Running Call of Duty on the Switch’s hardware might be challenging, but cloud gaming is a way around this. Activision executives discussed creating Call of Duty games that run natively on Nintendo hardware, but it’s unclear whether high-quality games could be created on the limited hardware Switch or its successor. Games like Resident Evil Village have been able to work around this problem with cloud gaming, and doing so with Call of Duty could open the door for getting Xbox Game Pass on Nintendo hardware.
Additionally, Nintendo’s consoles have historically been buoyed by first-party exclusives, which would make Xbox Game Pass a value-add for Switch owners rather than something that cannibalizes sales. That might make Game Pass on Nintendo consoles an easier prospect than getting it on PlayStation. That said, there’s no word on Xbox Game Pass being available on competing consoles for the time being.