Hottest thing out of E3 2019
One of the world's biggest video game conferences E3 or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, held in Los Angeles is done and dusted for another year. If you have gamers in your house, you’ll be wanting to know about the latest from the greatest names in the game. Gaming expert Gerard Campbell reviews some of the highlights.
Xbox announced its next video game console, codename Project Scarlett, but that's not out until the end of 2020 and the reveal trailer, although impressive, was light on actual information.
For me, it wasn't the flashy games, the Hollywood celebrities or the non-existent console that had me most excited about what the future holds. It was an announcement from Xbox that was sandwiched between all the game trailers and a console reveal.
Xbox’s big reveal...
We're talking about Game Pass for PC. Think Netflix for video games. Microsoft have had the Game Pass service for its Xbox One console for a while. Now, it's available for PC players – and it's good. It's very, very good and we believe it should have received more focus.
Of course, Xbox wasn't the only publisher to announce a new game streaming service – French publisher Ubisoft announced Uplay+, which lets you access current and classic Ubisoft titles – but Xbox's Game Pass for PC lets you access games from a variety of publishers not just its first-party titles.
How Game Pass (for PC and Xbox) actually works
You pay a monthly subscription fee, just like Netflix, Hulu and Neon, and for that, you get to download PC games or buy them at a discounted rate. New games are added regularly, and most new release first-party Microsoft titles will appear on the service the same day they go on sale. It's only a beta right now but the library is looking pretty healthy with games like Metro Exodus, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Astroneer, Forza Horizon 4, Football Manager and Prey.
Like Netflix, where you don't own the movies, you don't own the games with Game Pass as it’s a streaming service. In this sense, they're yours to play for as long as you pay your subscription fee or you buy the game. If you've got a trick new gaming PC that you've just finished building and want to stretch its silicon legs – and a broadband connection that's up to the task, of course – then Game Pass is a phenomenal deal.
And at just NZ$6.95 a month, with your first month just $1 as a sweetener to get you to try out the service, it's a no brainer if you're a PC gamer.
Microsoft showcased Project xCloud at E3 and while it was using a wired Ethernet connection – clearly a smart move to ensure the demonstration remained rock-solid – the word is that the lag was only slightly perceptible and frame rates were stable despite the servers being 400 miles away.
If one thing is clear for the future of gaming, it's that a reliable fibre broadband connection is a must, be it for streaming your games over the cloud or for downloading all the games you'll access using a digital subscription.