“Moving forward, we plan to release all new Xbox One exclusive games from Microsoft Studios into Xbox Game Pass on the same date as their global release,” Xbox head Phil Spencer said in the announcement. “This means that when Sea of Thieves launches on March 20, it will be included in Xbox Game Pass to all members.”
Other Xbox One console-exclusive games releasing in 2018 include Crackdown 3, as well as the open-world zombie game State of Decay 2.
Previously, subscribers had to wait at least a few months before they could play “new” Xbox One games. Halo Wars 2, for instance, is releasing for the program next month, nearly a year after it launched.
The only downside to the Xbox Game Pass program is that it is only available on Xbox One. The majority of Xbox One “exclusives,” including Sea of Thieves, are also releasing on Windows 10 PCs and feature cross-save and cross-play support. The changes to the program are likely an attempt by Microsoft to encourage more people to actually purchase an Xbox One console, particularly after the launch of the Xbox One X last November. Though there is certainly still some disparity between the beefed-up console and expensive PC rigs, it isn’t as great as it used to be.
Xbox Game Pass works differently than streaming programs like PlayStation Now. Users don’t stream the games they choose through the program. Instead, they download them just like they would any other digital games, and they’re able to play them for as long as they have an active subscription. This offers them the ability to play without worrying about lag. Unlike the games released through Xbox Live Games With Gold, however, once a game leaves the Game Pass program, you won’t be able to access it anymore.
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