Microsoft has been providing Game Pass as a monthly subscription service with a selection of well-known games that can be played on PCs, Xboxes, and even in the cloud. With the release of Hi-Fi Rush, Microsoft is now altering its strategy.
Microsoft showcased titles under development from Microsoft-owned firms, including Minecraft Legends from Mojang Studios and Redfall from Arkane Austin, at an event called “Xbox & Bethesda Developer Direct” yesterday. Hi-Fi Rush was a surprise game that had not been announced or discussed beforehand. It’s an action-rhythm game in which the setting, other characters, and your own attacks all follow the beat of the music. Last night, I spent the first hour playing it, and I’m really enjoying it.
Photo Credit: YouTube
Aside from the game itself, what’s interesting is how Microsoft, which owns ZeniMax and Tango Gameworks, managed the game’s release. A large developer announcing and releasing a game on the same day is quite uncommon. A game is typically first announced months, if not years, before it is actually released. Pre-orders are started by the publisher at some point before to release, which can speed up development.
However, services like Game Pass and PlayStation Plus Extra that require a subscription are altering this approach. Microsoft has already started adding its new releases to Game Pass the day after they are made available, although that has typically been months after a game was first announced, presumably after most of the early excitement had worn off. Hi-Fi Rush can be bought routinely on PC and Xbox, although the release is obviously intended to support Game Pass. If you already paid for Game Pass, you learnt about a fun new game and could play it nearly right away for no further charge. Compared to how most of us are used to learning about and enjoying games, this is a very different approach.
Photo Credit: GameSpot
At least on the surface, the experiment appears to have been successful. Hi- For hours, discussions about the game’s announcement and the posting of screenshots and gameplay videos on social networking sites like Twitter were trending under the hashtag “Fi Rush.” Additionally, as I write this, there are over 30,000 viewers of the game on Twitch, which is a respectable number for a game that was unknown before yesterday.