As we’ve already said multiple times here on VG247, Xbox Game Pass is definitely the best value in video gaming right now. But… it could be better.
One of the greatest elements of Xbox Game Pass is that the first-party games are, broadly speaking, there to stay. They crop up on launch day and are there forever. Third-party titles come and go, but you always know those Xbox Game Studios titles will be there. That adds a lot of value to the subscription, and if you want a hot new first-party game, in money terms it probably makes more sense to pick up or extend a Game Pass Ultimate sub than to actually buy a copy of that single game. How many people are actually going to buy Halo Infinite? I’d wager the answer is not very many.
Despite this great value, however, there’s a weird gap in the Xbox Game Pass offering: a bunch of classic Xbox games.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but the thought has been somewhat hardened by the addition of Conker: Live & Reloaded to Xbox Games With Gold and the news that Blinx and Crimson Skies are coming to Game Pass. Xbox Conker is a classic from the original console, and one that looks particularly good in backwards compatibility - but bafflingly, it isn’t available in Game Pass.
Yes, the original N64 version of Conker is available in Xbox Game Pass via Rare Replay. Yes, the Live & Reloaded version has been made available free in Games with Gold - but that’s not the point, either. If you didn't claim it during its availability window you’ll have to buy it. And I just… I don’t get it.
Conker isn’t alone, either. Two of my personal favorites are the two Japanese RPGs helmed by Final Fantasy creator Nobuo Uematsu, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. Both are backwards compatible and look great on the new hardware. Both were published by Microsoft, don’t feature any pesky licensed music, and are still available for sale digitally. So why aren’t they in Game Pass?
The same is true for a slew of Microsoft-published Xbox Live Arcade games and lots of little here-and-there larger releases from both the 360 and original Xbox generations. In some cases, these games were developed by external developers and only published by Microsoft - so perhaps there’s a license thing I’m missing. But in other cases, like Conker, I can’t quite see why they couldn’t be in Game Pass - especially when these games routinely enter Games with Gold and be given away for free without causing a similar issue?
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is a good start (honestly, I care very little about Blinx, but it's nice to have it on there), but come on, Microsoft - when your rivals frequently tap into nostalgia with supreme expertise, you've got to use what you've got.
Or is Microsoft scared of the currently niche ‘make a Lost Odyssey sequel you cowards’ group earning new members if others play it and realize how great it is? I mean, maybe that. They should be scared.
But really… I don’t get it.
Xbox Game Pass is, as I said, great. It’s the greatest value in gaming, without doubt. So in saying this I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but please, Microsoft, get your whole catalogue in there!