Phil Spencer, Head of Gaming at Xbox, discusses a major update to the Xbox Game Pass program. Details below:

When we launched Xbox Game Pass in June 2017, we knew we wanted to craft a service with gamers in mind. That meant a diverse, expanding library of over 100 games and counting, matched with one monthly price and unlimited access to download and play full-fidelity experiences.

We’ve been blown away by the incredible response. Following launch, we heard from fans around the world who wanted Xbox Game Pass in their country. In September, we expanded globally and Xbox Game Pass is now available to fans in 40 countries. We’ve also continued to expand the catalog with new games added to the Xbox Game Pass library every month, so there is always something new to play.

We know our fans value having a variety of games to play at a low monthly price. We’ve also heard from fans that the ability to play new blockbuster games in Xbox Game Pass is important. So we’ve continued to explore new ideas to make this possible.

Today, we’re excited to announce plans for a major expansion to Xbox Game Pass that underscores our commitment to deliver our fans the ultimate gaming subscription service.

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. This means that when Sea of Thieves launches on March 20, it will be included in Xbox Game Pass to all members.

This plan to bring new games timed with their global release into Xbox Game Pass not only includes announced titles like Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Crackdown 3 but future unannounced games from Microsoft Studios including new iterations of our biggest Xbox One exclusive franchises such as Halo, Forza and Gears of War, on the same day they launch.

Our fans have also asked for more choice in the subscription offerings available for Xbox Game Pass. As part of today’s library expansion, we are also pleased to announce that we are working closely with our retail partners, such as GameStop, to offer a 6-month Xbox Game Pass subscription card for those fans who look for a variety of ways to purchase and enjoy new games and services. The 6-month Xbox Game Pass subscription card will be available at select retail partners for $59.99 beginning March 20. By working closely with retail partners, Xbox Game Pass will have valuable ambassadors in popular destinations for gamers to discover new and exciting games and enjoy community.

With the addition of more great games, new blockbuster releases and a new subscription offer, we are giving fans more choice and value in how they discover and enjoy games – purchase games for their permanent library or play through Xbox Game Pass for one low price.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the opportunity this new model brings to the industry and what we can deliver to our fans. We firmly believe Xbox Game Pass will be a catalyst to create new opportunities for game developers and publishers to innovate in the way games are developed and delivered, leading to entirely new ways to play.

We’re truly humbled by the incredible response we’ve received to date for Xbox Game Pass, and we look forward to offering an unprecedented choice and value with Xbox Game Pass this spring and beyond.

Phil Spencer
Twitter: @XboxP3
GT: P3

Halo 5: Guardians, the most expansive Halo game ever released, will be free for Xbox Live Gold members from Thursday, January 11 at 12:01 a.m. PST until Sunday, January 14 at 10:59 p.m. PST. During this time, players can download the game and experience the latest chapter in the Halo saga spanning multiple worlds and a journey that will change the course of history and the future of mankind. Fans can enjoy this grand campaign solo or with up to three friends via online co-op. Xbox Live Gold members can jump into Halo 5‘s epic multiplayer modes as well.

Additionally Halo 5 Standard and Deluxe Editions are on sale for all Xbox Live members from now until 14 January.

  

Purchase Halo 5: Guardians for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Purchase Halo 5: Guardians – Digital Deluxe Edition for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

For more details, check out the Xbox Wire.

Content: Halo Wars 2: Complete Edition 
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Real-time strategy makes an explosive return to the Halo universe in Halo Wars 2. Build and lead powerful armies, experience an all-new story told across action-packed campaign missions and play against friends online in a variety of multiplayer modes. All playable on 4K graphics in HDR on the Xbox One X and Windows 10.

This bundle includes Halo Wars 2, Halo Wars 2: Season Pass and Awakening the Nightmare DLC (5 campaign missions, 2 new multiplayer leaders, and an all new tower-defense co-op mode – Terminus Firefight).

Purchase Halo Wars 2: Complete Edition for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Website: Halo Wars 2
Twitter: @Halo

NOTE: Supports Xbox Play Anywhere: yours to play on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC at no additional cost.

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For more information on Xbox Play Anywhere, check out this article at Xbox Wire.

Content: Halo Wars: Definitive Edition
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Set early in the iconic war between the Covenant and UNSC – made famous by the Halo FPS games – Halo Wars: Definitive Edition provides a unique angle on the war while bringing new heroes to the battlefield. Control large Halo armies and direct them in action-packed warfare. Halo Wars: Definitive Edition includes improved graphics, new achievements and all the DLC from the landmark game. Re-live the epic campaign or compete in online multiplayer battles with armies of powerful Halo forces at your command.

Halo Wars: Definitive Edition is now available for individual purchase on Xbox One, Windows 10 PC.

Purchase Halo Wars: Definitive Edition for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Website: Halo Wars: Definitive Edition
Twitter: @Halo

Read more about Halo Wars: Definitive Edition over at Halo Waypoint.

NOTE: Supports Xbox Play Anywhere: yours to play on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC at no additional cost.

For more information on Xbox Play Anywhere, check out this article at Xbox Wire.

[ 💬 Larry Hryb ] @majornelson

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We’re celebrating the 15 year anniversary of Halo and Xbox this week and to promote the special occasion we’re adding a number of new images to the Xbox One gamerpic gallery. These new images are starting to roll out over the coming days but may take some time to appear in all Xbox Live regions. To change your gamerpic, go to Settings, About Me, Customize profile, Change gamerpic (this may vary if you’re a Preview Program member with the New Xbox One Experience).

Browse the gallery and you should see the new Halo And Xbox 15 Year Anniversary images – shown below:

You can download a .ZIP file containing all of the images here: Halo And Xbox 15 Year Anniversary

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The new Xbox One S Halo Collection Bundle we announced back in July is now available today from Microsoft and select retailers, and is the ideal way to dive into the world of Xbox One and the iconic Halo universe. The Xbox One S Halo Collection Bundle comes with a 500GB or 1TB Xbox One S, matching Xbox Wireless Controller and five games between Halo 5: Guardians and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It’s perfect for those looking to relive the Master Chief’s epic journey or battle on the biggest maps in franchise history in Warzone multiplayer.

Both the 500GB and 1TB hard drive options for the Xbox One Halo Collection Bundle will be available at participating retailers, including Microsoft Stores, in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand for $299 USD and $349 USD, respectively. Note that, in the U.S., the 1TB hard drive option will only be available in very limited quantities at select Microsoft Stores and microsoftstore.com.

The Xbox One S Halo Collection Bundle includes:

  • 500GB Xbox One S console
  • Xbox Wireless Controller
  • Halo 5: Guardians disc
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection full game download

Purchase Xbox One S Halo Collection Bundle from Microsoft Store.
Purchase Xbox One S Halo Collection Bundle from Amazon.
Purchase Xbox One S Halo Collection Bundle from Best Buy.
Purchase Xbox One S Halo Collection Bundle from Target.
Purchase Xbox One S Halo Collection Bundle from GameStop.

 

It was a busy day preparing the Xbox booth for gamescom, one of the world’s biggest video game trade show events featuring over 800 exhibitors and 500,000 visitors from 50 different countries. I wanted to share some of the news and stories from today in this recap.

Earlier today, I teamed up with @AceyBongos to do a livestream of the Xbox booth. If you didn’t catch the stream you can watch it below:

 

The Xbox Wire posted a few stories related to gamescom and the titles that will be shown off in the Xbox booth. You can read them here:

Looking Back and Looking Forward at gamescom 2016

Thoughts from the Sea of Thieves PC Design Lead

Celebrating Three Years of ID@Xbox

Halo Wars 2 Comes to Europe: Thoughts from Creative Assembly

Gears of War 4 Showcased in Glorious 4K at gamescom

Forza Racing Championship Series Week 1 Results

If you’re attending gamescom and you want to try and get one of the 200 tickets to attend Xbox FanFest: gamescom 2016, you can find all of the details here. We’ll have more news stories, livestreams and other surprises over the next few days, so keep checking back here or follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss any of it.

Cake Wars
Recently I had the opportunity to serve as the guest judge for a Halo-themed episode of the Food Network show, Cake Wars, and the episode is airing tonight at 9 p.m. EDT / 8 p.m. CDT.

In the episode, four awesome bakers face off to create cakes based on the Halo universe, with the winning contestant earning $10,000 and a trip for them and their cake to the Halo World Championship finals that took place this past March.

Tune in to the special episode tonight as I sit at the judges table along with Cake Wars judges Waylynn Lucas and Ron Ben-Israel to determine who will come out on top in a Halo match like none you’ve ever seen. Hit me up on Twitter and let me know what you think of the confection creations!