Microsoft Is Exploring Ad-Supported Free Xbox Game Pass Access: Report


Microsoft is reportedly planning to offer free game streaming in exchange for advertisements. As per TweakTown, Xbox Gaming CFO Tim Stuart suggested during the recent Wells Fargo TMT Summit that to expand geographically, it would be ideal to leverage the company’s xCloud service, allowing players to cloud stream games at any ‘endpoint’ via a simple Game Pass Ultimate subscription. He further added, “For models like Africa, or India, Southeast Asia, maybe places that aren’t console-first, you can say, ‘Hey, do you want to watch 30 seconds of an ad and then get two hours of game streaming?’”

If true, this would be an incredible deal for mobile gamers since they’d simply need a good internet connection to experience the entire catalogue of games Xbox Game Pass has on offer. The idea is for Microsoft to get its games subscription service to as many screens as possible; offering it for free in exchange for ad-viewing seems like a promising route. I can’t speak for other countries, but the average Indian mobile gamer does not make premium game purchases — partly due to poor regional pricing — and would much rather opt for piracy. The company has previously asked Xbox Insiders about providing more Game Pass time in exchange for adverts, code snippets of which were revealed by researcher Title_OS. There was also a reported survey asking how users would feel about a low-priced ad-supported Game Pass subscription, with limitations such as a six-month delay on new games.

“So, we can go in with our own business models and say — there’s millions of gamers we would never have been able to address, and now we can go in with our business models,” Stuart added (via VGC). During the same presentation, he also floated the idea of bringing Xbox Game Pass to rival platforms such as PlayStation and Nintendo, a claim that was soon shut down by CEO Phil Spencer.

Reports from earlier this month also suggested that Xbox was planning to launch a mobile storefront via a dedicated application that would bypass Apple App Store and Google Play Store’s security layer, so Xbox wouldn’t have to pay a cut on every purchase being made. Currently, there is no release window for the app, but the company is in talks with undisclosed partners — wouldn’t be surprised to see Candy Crush Saga developer King to be involved, following its acquisition in October.

New additions to this month’s Game Pass catalogue include Far Cry 6, both Remnant games, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and more — as part of Xbox’s holiday offering to the community. Meanwhile, Microsoft is joining hands with Inworld to foster AI game development, allowing future studios to turn prompts into full-fledged dialogue and questlines.


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