As is usually the case, Amazon Prime Day has, overall, been pretty decent for gaming deals. Across PS5, Switch and Xbox, we've seen some absolute steals on games ranging from AAA blockbusters to indie gems.
That's all good for PS5 and Nintendo Switch, but deals for Xbox Series X|S games really just feel like they're keeping up appearances. Why? Because Xbox Game Pass exists, and it's still one of the best overall deals in all of gaming.
That shouldn't be news to anyone at this point, but it does leave Prime Day deals for Xbox games feeling pretty obsolete. After all, why should I pick up Sea of Thieves or Forza Horizon 5 from Amazon when I can play them almost instantly by downloading them from Game Pass? All at the low cost of a monthly subscription, no less.
Yes, Xbox Game Pass is still that good
Both Game Pass and its premium Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier continue to be exceptional value for money. The service is still routinely delivering access to incredible games, many of which land on Game Pass on day one of release.
Those include titles from Xbox Game Studios, which Microsoft has committed to Xbox Game Pass day one launches for. Don't fancy paying full price for a game you're not sure you'll even enjoy? Game Pass eliminates that risk. Like it? You've got access to a new favorite without paying a penny. And if you don't, you can simply uninstall with the only loss being a small amount of invested time.
While there are some exceptions to these Prime Day deals (Far Cry 6 on Xbox Series X dropped to an impressively low price), the vast majority of Xbox discounts felt anemic. And if you have an Xbox Series S as your console of choice, they're entirely redundant due to that console's digital-only format.
Xbox Game Pass is also one of those subscription services where the value only increases over time. Especially if you make frequent use of it. From personal experience, I might never have played Outer Wilds or Night in the Woods if they weren't on Game Pass.
Now, I consider them both to be among my favorite games of all time. Game Pass isn't just a convenient way to play games on the cheap, then. It's a superb platform for discovery.
Physical media still has its perks
The appeal of physical media isn't lost on me, though. On one hand, owning these games on disc is often the preferable choice. After all, digital content is finite so long as the threat of services shutting down exists. Xbox Game Pass isn't exempt from this.
It's fair to say that there will come a day when the Xbox Game Pass service ends. Not anytime soon, of course. But outside of emulation, there will be a time when the only way to access many of these games will be via physical discs.
In that sense, you might find a great deal of value in picking up games like Halo Infinite or Gears 5 on the cheap. We also can't rule out the notion that Xbox's policy on day one Game Pass launches may change. The subscription service could even get more expensive, potentially turning users away.
But as it stands right now, many of these Xbox game deals still feel a little out of place on Amazon Prime Day. Not because they're not worth owning, but rather they're so much cheaper and instantly accessible via Xbox Game Pass right now.