Xbox Game Pass for PC is now available as a beta

Image credit: Microsoft

Update: At E3 2019, Microsoft announced that the Xbox Game Pass for PC - its subscription gaming service - is available to try right now as a beta, with the full release coming later this year. Players can access the Xbox Game Pass through the new Xbox app in Windows 10, and it will cost $5/£4 (around AU$8) a month.

Original story continues...

Phil Spencer, executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft has admitted that the company has let down PC gamers in the past – and has explained how it's working to right those wrongs.

According to Spencer, “We’ve not always lived up to our aspiration of keeping gamers at the center of everything we do when it comes to the experience they’ve had on Windows.” 

To rectify that, Microsoft is bringing its Xbox Game Pass subscription service to PC – and it's revealed that it has built the service from the ground up for PC gamers.

Xbox Game Pass for PC will bring over 100 games to Windows 10, which players can download and play for a flat monthly subscription.

Microsoft says it's working with some of the biggest developers on PC – including Bethesda, Deep Silver, Devolver Digital, Paradox Interactive and Sega – to bring their games to the service.

As with Xbox Game Pass on Xbox One, Microsoft’s own games will be available on the service on the same day they're released – and Xbox Game Pass for PC members will also receive discounts in the Microsoft Store on Windows of up to 20% on games currently in the library, and up to 10% off related game DLC and add-ons.

Committed to PC

Microsoft also highlighted its commitment to PC gaming – something it’s sometimes accused of neglecting despite being the company behind Windows 10 – by announcing that it will be bringing more than 20 Xbox Game Studio games to Steam, including Gears 5 and Age of Empires I, II & III: Definitive Editions.

Spencer added: “We know millions of PC gamers trust Steam as a great source to buy PC games and we’ve heard the feedback that PC gamers would like choice.”

It’s certainly a welcome move to see Microsoft back off from trying to force people to buy their games from the Microsoft Store.

Spencer also revealed that Win32 games will be available in the Microsoft Store in Windows 10. Win32 games are regular PC games – as opposed to Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games, which were previously the only games sold in the Microsoft Store.

"It’s critical that we make decisions that reinforce the open nature of the PC."

Phil Spencer

Many gamers don’t like UWP games because they're locked down, meaning players can't tweak the games and install mods – something many PC gamers are passionate about.

By allowing Win32 games on the Microsoft Store, gamers don’t have to give up the freedom and flexibility that are so important to playing on PC.

As Spencer says: “When I think about the role we play as a company to support and evolve gaming on Windows, it’s critical that we make decisions that reinforce the open nature of the PC.”

So, it seems like Microsoft has listened to the concerns of the PC gaming community. We’ll find out more about its plans for PC gaming at the Xbox E3 2019 Briefing on Sunday, June 9.

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Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.