Xbox fans have had plenty of positive things to say about Xbox Game Pass in recent years, and for good reason! The service just keeps on growing, with huge additions pretty much every month. Well, a few developers are starting to speak out about how the service benefits them as well.
Last week, The Last Case of Benedict Fox's studio spoke about how getting a game like theirs onto Game Pass is a "huge deal", and now the House Flipper developer has similarly positive things to say.
In a new interview with TrueAchievements, Frozen District spoke about how the game emerged as a recent Game Pass candidate, and that the team would be 'foolish' for them to not use Microsoft's service again in future.
It was surprisingly good! The game dev industry tends to be a little unpredictable, so it's usually quite difficult to do something for the first time because you don't really know what to expect. In this case, the Microsoft team made it really easy to figure stuff out. They're the best of the best!
Overall, it was a great experience, so it would be foolish of us not to do it again sometime soon!
Xbox Game Pass certainly helps with discoverability for some of these lesser-known indie titles. The service's most popular list has contained its fair share of them recently, especially as some of these 'sim' games arrive in the library.
Have you played House Flipper yet? Convinced thanks to Xbox Game Pass? Let us know below!
Well they're 2 indie games that wouldn't get many sales so of course the developers will be happy about it I'm sure if Microsoft did a poll & asked customers if they'd rather have one of these games added to gamepass or a big AAA game the majority would vote for the latter
@Would_you_kindly Of course most customers would prefer ONE AAA game over ONE indie. But that's not a realistic fight. Microsoft could probably add around ten indies for the same price of one AAA. So a fairer question would be. "Would you prefer ten good indies or one third party AAA?" I suspect it depends on the player and specific games but it's likely a far closer poll.
Having just completed Escape Academy over the weekend (It's brilliant), started Powerwash Simulator (not 100% convinced yet but strangely compelled to keep on going) and started As Dusk Falls (has a great beginning, want to play more) i'm leaning towards the indies. But we all like different things.
@themightyant I rather take ten indies over 1 AAA game. I use game pass to have a great stable of many different genres.
Preach! 100% with you, also on smaller developers having the more unique and interesting ideas.
Can recommend Escape Academy. Very short at around 4-6 hours but I had a blast and want more.
EDIT: re:Powerwash Sim, username checks out.
@themightyant I'm not really into indies there's a few I've enjoyed like Horace & tormented souls , dunno if ori counts as an indie
A game is still a Game - whether its made by a massive team of developers all working on very specific aspects, or a small team, even just a single developer, they are still 'games'.
In the 80's, Codemaster games (like Dizzy for example) were cheap games costing 'pocket money' prices (£2-3) and competing with the 'giants' of the time who'd charge £10+ for a single game. I'd often go into my local retailer and buy up the latest new 'cheap' games to play every week and occasionally pop into the city to pick up 'specific' big games from Ocean, Sega etc that cost 5x as much....
I don't buy 'Indies' today because they are often only available digitally and can often pick up older AAA games on Disc for the same price on sale. However, with Game Pass, I can try all these games at no additional cost. Sometimes a small indie that I can play and finish in a Session or two is 'perfect' - other times, getting lost in a big AAA game for weeks on end is 'perfect', but they are all competing for my 'time' and whilst 'pretty' AAA budget visuals do impress me and create a great first impression, their game-play loop may be a bit shallow or the story be quite generic and/or predictable but look amazing in motion. Pretty visuals sell games more than Game-play as most 'buy' based on visuals and those first impressions. In the 80's, it was Box Art and Screen Shots in magazines, now its youtube videos but rarely do people actually get to play first to see if the game-play loop is worth it...
All games are competing for your attention, for your time first and foremost. If it appeals enough on that score, then people will decide if its 'worth' the entry fee to purchase and then find out if it delivers the 'experience' and fills your valuable game time as expected. Some may feel that 'indies' are not worth the asking price - especially as they are limited to one storefront so no real competition on prices where you can buy a AAA game on Disc relatively 'risk free' because if it doesn't live up to expectation, you can trade/sell that game to recuperate [some] costs.
Game Pass puts ALL games front and centre, lets each stand up on their own merits and doesn't separate games based on 'cost' or budget behind them. They are all competing 'equally' for your attention, your time with NO financial investment or obligation. If you want to play 'House Flipper', its there to try and if it doesn't keep your attention, your interest etc, all you have lost is a bit of time.
All games are competing 'equally' for your time. If you only have a short time, maybe an indie game with relatively short missions maybe more 'rewarding' than playing a AAA game where you may only reach the next checkpoint after watching several long cut-scenes play-out, travel on foot across the vast open world battling a few random groups of enemies to reach that next checkpoint and feel like you haven't really got much further in the game...
Game Pass puts all these options in one easily accessible place and enables the subscriber to access a wide selection of 'GAMES' across 20yrs of gaming history. There is no barrier and all 'indie' means is that the Studio is 'independent' from a 'big publisher' but doesn't mean they are 'terrible' at designing/making entertaining games that are a lot of 'fun' to play, even if they don't have state of the art realistic graphical presentations...
@Would_you_kindly No problem with that, we all like different things after all.
Ori developer Moon Studios are independent but Ori was made with the financial and technical backing of Microsoft as a publisher so I wouldn't consider it an indie game. But both games are masterpieces.
Adding to what @SplooshDmg said above it doesn't matter if it's AAA, AA or indie as long as you are having fun.
My 6yo cousin made me play House Flipper on his tablet...and I was like "meh another cash grab mobile game with timers and such". But I gotta say I had fun for the short time I played it on Xbox...it was chill, kinda fun to see the difference in the houses and not half as tedious as the lawnmower simulator, which was a pain tbh!
I need to try the Powerwash game now
@BAMozzy Great post. 👏 Agree with everything you've said. Two things i'd piggyback on.
This for me is one of the biggest criticism of many games recently, their insistence that "longer playtime = better game" when often the inverse is true. There is so much filler in AAA nowadays, cut'n'paste quests, open world busywork and by the end you have tired gameplay mechanics that outstayed their welcome. They are worse games for it.
Time IS precious and I can usually get through 3-4 or more indie games in the same time as 1 AAA title, so while they may compete for attention there are frequent times where I just don't want to embark on another 40+ hour epic that will be my life for a month. My backlog - not just for games but for books, tv and movies - is mostly these longer games and series that it's hard to find time for.
Conversely I picked Escape Academy this weekend and finished it in 2 sittings. And there was more novelty and interest in those 5-6 hours than your typical AAA. Great little game, didn't outstay it's welcome, perfect for Game Pass.
This is the sadest truth to me. I like a good looking game as much as the next human but the level of investment that goes into making games look good is disproportionate to making them feel good and do something new. I'd love to see more bigger budget games really try to break that mould, but understand as an investment it's risky and unappealing as long as we, the consumer, keeps buying more of the same.
There are exceptions but a lot of AAA has got stuck in this creative rut where many of the games coming out are just predictable and safe fare. That doesn't mean they are bad, there is comfort in predictability and high production values, it's just a shame most gameplay innovation is coming from small studios.
Regardless take each game on it's merits. There's loads of good AAA, AA and indies and plenty to play on Game Pass.
@SplooshDmg Nope you are right. Top 3 rated games on Steam this year so far are:
2) God of War
3) Powerwash Simulator
For those wondering about Elden Ring it's way down in #35 likely because PC release was very buggy at launch. Though Stray has shader compilation issues too.
@themightyant I've struggled to get into RDR2 for example - its a stunning looking game but the game-play and 'feel' is somewhat sluggish. I can't walk past a 'corpse' or room without picking up every possible item but with RDR2, it takes ages to go through the animation of checking and 'looting' corpses - all the while, the AI posse are constantly repeating the same line about having to move out...
Just assaulting an enemy camp, checking everywhere for loot and checking every corpse too, and that's your time gone and you've hardly moved the plot forward. In the same time, I could play an indie and feel like I have made quite a bit of progress, feel like I have actually achieved quite a lot and had a lot of fun, nothing drawn out, no 10min cut-scenes of character development, scene setting etc.
There is a time and place for big games you want to play every day for weeks/months, maybe all your interested in is the 20hr main story line and not the 100+ hrs of collectathons, side quests, superfluous and repeated activities every 'big' town has (like Card/Board games (Gwent, Orlog, Machine Strike etc), combat based (fighting 'pits'), race based (vehicle/horse...), resource gathering/crafting etc) and that 'Story' is often very generic and predictable which may 'help' when there is so much to distract the player and easy to pick-up again....
I played the Artful Escape in one session, the Gunk in 2 or 3, Medium in 2 sessions etc - games I wouldn't of played at all without Game Pass and they all kept me 'engaged' to the end. I never made it passed the first big Camp after the 'snow' in RDR2 because it was not that 'fun' to play and felt 'sluggish' because of the incredible animations.
I can always find 'something' to play on Game Pass regardless of mood, time etc. If I want some 'long' RPG game or some short but fun blast, whether I want something 'new' or revisit some old classics - there is always something of 'interest'. The fact that I can try 'anything', regardless of the size/status of the developers (owned by a Publisher or independent, large or small team) with absolutely no obligation or up-front financial investment is why I subscribe. 1st Party 'Exclusives' don't have 'bigger' budgets or bigger studios than some 3rd Party games, they can make smaller budget games with a small part of the studio (like Pentiment by Obsidian) that's no better/worse than small team independent studios. They are all 'games' and most 1st party Studios started as 'independent' studio's. They are all still competing for your valuable 'leisure' time first and foremost. If you'd rather spend £60+ to buy a game because it interests you more than a £20 game, fair enough but Game Pass puts all games together to compete 'just' for your time, not your money - so if its of any interest, you can try it and the game-play will dictate if its worth your time or not, not the 'financial' investment in it - spent £60 so I feel I have to 'try' and get my £60 worth or wait until it drops to £20 to play just the campaign because £20 for 8hrs puts it in a Comparable price point to those 8hr indies....
@Would_you_kindly At least the indie games are fully developed fleshed out titles not requiring day one patches or live service connections while also trying to sell me outfit and xp booster packs.
Your AAA is my triple POO.
For me, a lot of the big budget "realistic graphics" games just bore me - having gameplay I've see before. Look at Sta Wars Jedi Fallen Order - I can't play because the graphic glitches are so bad. Doom Eternal - yawn, been there. Monster Hunter Rise... Elden Ring... Just not for me.
It's been one of the unexpected pleasures of Game Pass - being able to play "lesser" "indie" games I wouldn't have tried. Some don't always make the grade - that kill the spider with fire game was awful - but others truly delight.
Besides, you'll never get Nintendo's AAA games on Xbox and those are pretty much the only AAA that interest me.
Xbox gamepass is the best deals in gaming 😃
@BAMozzy agree with all your post except The Medium… that was a snoozefest (literally fell asleep several times) and time I’ll never get back.
But every other point I agree on especially RDR2. I wish I was able to just mainline games sometimes, it would be MUCH faster, but I generally feel compelled to absorb myself in their world and complete them. But it’s tiring with open world repeated content that takes weeks. I fell off Ghost of Tsushima for this reason.
Meanwhile just finished Escape Academy, and Stray in the last few days. Each had some unique ideas that pushed the medium forward. Great little experiences that don’t outstay their welcome or let their mechanics tire.
Sold my PS5 to get a Series X just for Gamepass. I would have never bought powerwash simulator, yet, I cannot put it down. But it was other factors. I bought Back 4 blood on PS5. If I had Gamepass at the time I would have not wasted my money because it was already on there. I disliked Back 4 Blood.
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