Xbox Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Game Pass

President of Riot Games Marc Merrill announced a landmark partnership with Xbox at Microsoft’s recent Xbox Game Showcase (R.I.P. E3). Game Pass subscribers on PC will soon be able to play (with a few perks) League of Legends and Valorant, with mobile gamers getting LoL spinoffs. It’s yet another sign of Xbox shifting from a console sales-centric strategy to investing in platform-agnostic subscriptions and cloud gaming.

What’s Better Than Free?

  • League of Legends (PC): Free-to-play title with all current and upcoming champions unlocked for free
  • League of Legends:Wild Rift (Mobile): Free-to-play with all champions unlocked
  • Legends of Runeterra (PC & Mobile): Free-to-play card game with Foundations Set of cards unlocked
  • Teamfight Tactics (PC & Mobile): Free-to-play strategy game with some content unlocked
  • Valorant (PC): Free-to-play FPS with all characters unlocked

Though a partnership with just one (very massive) studio, LoL and Valorant will be a considerable shot in the arm to Game Pass’ appeal. Better yet, moves like this and Xbox Cloud Gaming’s addition of keyboard & mouse support target PC and mobile gamers who aren’t already Xbox customers.  For Riot, it’s likely an injection of guaranteed revenue to insulate itself from the whims of microtransaction spending.

But Wait, There’s More
On top of this, everyone’s favorite Japanese auteur-game designer Hideo Kojima announced he will be working on an exclusive cloud-based game with Xbox.  Kojima’s recent titles may have been polarizing, but the signing of a developer who has largely worked with PlayStation is a big PR win for Microsoft.

  • Kojima confirmed he will continue to create games for PlayStation

Activision-Blizzard also announced this year’s blockbuster Call of Duty installment, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, will be available on Steam, the leading gaming platform currently. It’s a move that aligns with Activision-Blizzard’s new owner’s – Microsoft’s – focus on growing its customer base across all platforms, rather than only driving gamers toward Xbox consoles. It remains to be seen, however, whether the sequel to the free-to-play juggernaut that is Call of Duty: Warzone will also be released on Steam.

  • The last COD released on Steam was 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII
    • Recent releases have been exclusive to Activision’s client