Xbox Game Pass streaming could get a free option where users watch ads to play

Xbox Game Pass
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is considering ad-based business models for its Xbox Game Pass streaming service, according to chief financial officer Tim Stuart.

Speaking at the Wells Fargo TMT Summit, Stuart spoke about plans to bring Xbox Game Pass to "places that aren't console first." For these locations, he suggested that "you can say 'Hey, do you want to watch 30 seconds of an ad and then get two hours of game streaming?' (via VGC). 

“[In] Africa [...] 50 percent of the population is 23 years old or younger with a growing disposable income base, all with cell phones and mobile devices, not a lot of high-end disposable income, generally speaking. So, we can  go in with our own business models and say - there [are] millions of gamers we would never have been able to address, and now we can go in with our business models."

Initially reported by TweakTown, Stuart's plans could spell a shake-up for the video game streaming landscape, should they be translated into tangible business practices. 

The Wells Fargo TMT summit was initially held on November 28, where Stuart emphasized the scope of Microsoft's wider goal to bring Game Pass "to every screen that can play games." However, these new quotes reported by TweakTown shine a new light on Microsoft's potential approach to rolling out Xbox Game Pass' streaming service on a global scale. 

Since we already knew that Stuart hinted at "a bit of a change of strategy" for the company, it comes as no surprise that Microsoft might experiment with this sort of adventurous approach to monetization. We also know that Microsoft's ambitions to reach "every screen" include "smart TVs [...] mobile devices, that means [reaching out to] what we would have thought of as competitors in the past like PlayStation and Nintendo."

Given that Xbox Game Pass costs "over a billion dollars a year," it's clear that Microsoft wishes to get the most out of its ambitious subscription service. Perhaps the potential addition of an ad-driven approach to monetization could spell gains for the company in the long run.

The best Xbox Game Pass games are great ways to spend time. However, we've also got a list of the best single-player games, if you're looking for a broader roundup.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on,, and, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 

Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 

Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.