This new ‘Minecraft’ game quietly boosts one of Microsoft’s most powerful products

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A new Minecraft game released last week, something that doesn’t happen that often. Minecraft dungeons has all the blocky and voxel graphics you would expect from the series, but it lacks the exploration and crafting-based gameplay of the main title. I’ve spent some time with it, and it’s a stripped-down, fun little dungeon robot in the Diablo vein. It’s not as deep as its competition, although it’s not designed to be: it’s not a good review, but it’s not terrible either. It’s a light, little click-through festival and a great way to spend an hour or two. It’s a weird version in some ways, but it really makes sense when you look at it from a certain angle.

It’s because Minecraft dungeons makes the most sense when you think of it as a Game Pass game first and foremost. Like all proprietary titles from Microsoft, it’s available on the subscription service from day one, now, and forever. While third-party headlines tend to grab the headlines when they hit Game Pass, games like No Man’s Sky Where Red Dead Redemption 2, for a few recent examples – proprietary games are quietly building an instant library of high-quality games that span the gamut from racing to shooter to all hell. Sea of ​​Thieves is (what it is is awesome).

Minecraft dungeons adapts perfectly to this mold. As a $ 30 game, it’s a bit on the limit – addicting and fun, but a bit light overall. But as a Game Pass game it’s perfect, something for a kid to discover by browsing an available library, something for anyone to kill a few insane hours hitting zombies and creepers. We’ve seen this before with games like Repression 3. In itself, it’s a bit dull. But it’s still fun, basically, and it fulfills a certain role within the framework of a subscription: to download it, to create chaos for a little while, to enjoy.

A little light is a problem for a premium game: it’s hard to convince people to pay full freight. A little light is also a problem for a free-to-play game – it’s hard to keep people engaged long enough to shell out extras. But a little light is actually perfect for a subscription service. It gives a little entry and it maybe encourages you to see what is on offer.

There are also more important proprietary titles in Game Pass: Gears 5 is a full-fledged AAA shooting experience, Forza Horizon 4 is a popular racing title, and Halo: infinite will be one of the industry’s most anticipated games when it lands in the fall. Gear tactics is a well-rated team tactics game, the Age of Empires series brings RTS action to the table, the Ori series contains some of the most critically acclaimed Metroidvanias that aren’t Hollow Knight (also on Game Pass at the moment). The real key, here in what is still the early days of Game Pass, seems to have been expanding breadth. Subscription services thrive on delivering a large network, and Microsoft uses first-party development to do just that.

Microsoft is already liberal with its Xbox Game Pass trial periods, handing them out with console packs and regularly selling them for $ 1. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 3 month trial period included with newer copies of Windows 10 as well. This would have been a solid offer when Game Pass launched, but it’s better now. Something like Minecraft dungeons—Simple, accessible, fun — is a great way to spark interest even for people who might not imagine they would play games otherwise, and from there why not try others. games ?

Third-party games will always be a big part of what Games Pass offers, and when I browse through the titles available, many of them catch my eye. But first-party games are what you might think of as Game Pass’s permanent collection. At this point, they already form a solid base for attracting and retaining new players. When Microsoft starts getting more games from its recent wave of studio acquisitions, that aspect of things will only expand.


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