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Game Pass for PC (and Xbox)

If you like playing games, have a PC or laptop, don't have the money to spend on buying new games and don't like the idea of pirating everything then Xbox Game Pass is an excellent idea. No longer in beta and now a fully-fledged Windows app, simply head over to the Microsoft Store in your Windows 10 menu and search for 'Xbox Game Pass for PC'. If you want to check out what games are available on the service then visit the Game Pass for PC homepage.
Download the app, install and you can try the first month
for the very, very low price of $1 which equates to about R16. For what you are getting this seems unbelievably cheap as it means you have access to a large library of games for PC that you can download and play as much as you like without having to purchase anything extra. As long as you continue to pay the monthly subscription fee, R99 at time of writing, you can download and play anything in the Xbox Game Pass library, no catches, hidden fees or anything else. The service is also available on Xbox consoles, offering a different range of games though pretty similar in most other aspects.

microsoft store
There are only a few (minor) negatives, the main one being that if you like using an Xbox controller to play games that not every single game in the library supports controllers so you will be back to using a mouse and keyboard for a few titles. However, a large percentage of the games do offer Xbox controller support, meaning if you own a controller the experience can be very similar to playing on console (depending on your PC specifications). Some games, despite offering controller support on console, don't offer it on PC, which can be annoying. The experience is also not quite as seamless as when playing on a console as you will need to authorise every game before you can play (which seems a bit odd as you have already authorised the Xbox app itself, though this probably relates to parental control), though this is just a few clicks of the mouse. You also only have a limited set of choices, whatever is available on Game Pass is what you can play, so you won't be able to play all the latest releases when they come out as they won't all automatically be on Game Pass. Also, if you are on a slower connection then downloading digital games can be a bit annoying, however there are a lot of smaller games, with smaller download sizes that you can download and play whilst waiting for your 50GB game to download.

However, that all said, the positives of the service far outweigh the negatives. Gaming in South Africa, if you are not willing to go the pirated route, is comparatively expensive and new games cost too much for the average person to buy regularly. If you have kids and bought them an Xbox console for Christmas or their birthday and haven't got them Game Pass then it is certainly something to think about and represents a massive saving over buying the physical (or digital) games themselves. R99 a month for 1 year (say R1200) is only a little more than you can pay for some a single new release title (or two budget games) and there is a really large and varied library of games to keep them busy, whatever their gaming genre preferences may be.

The range of games available changes and the service has certainly improved of late with more games getting added more regularly. At the time of writing some of the most popular games on the service are Halo, Forza, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Ark, Gears and Sea of Thieves. However, there are many more on offer, including indie titles like Forager, No Man's Sky and Dead Cells which are excellent games anyone old or young can enjoy.

If you haven't tried it and you have a PC or laptop, with or without an Xbox controller, it is a lot of fun and for R16 for your first month, you really don't have any excuse not to. If you want an Xbox controller for PC and don't know where to get one then Loot and Raru both generally stock Xbox controllers. Just remember that it is a wireless controller meaning that you do need to be able to connect via Bluetooth which requires a dongle if your desktop PC does not have Bluetooth (most laptops should have Bluetooth, whilst some PC do and some don't) then you will also be able to find those at both Loot and Raru.


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