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  • Microsoft made a major move toward Netflix-style subscriptions for Xbox games this week.
  • The move is the latest of several ambitious additions to the Xbox One platform.
  • Business Insider spoke with Xbox lead Phil Spencer about the latest changes in a phone interview this week.
  • Spencer hints that Xbox Game Pass could be the herald of a new business model in video games, beyond paying $60 for a new game or microtransactions in a free-to-play game.

Microsoft’s Xbox One isn’t the best-selling console on the market (that’s the PlayStation 4), nor is it the hot new thing (that’s the Nintendo Switch). It is, however, the most ambitious.

Here are just a few examples:

  1. The Xbox One has the Game Preview program, similar to Steam’s Early Access, which allows players to buy and play games that are still in development.
  2. The Xbox One X, an outrageously powerful (and, at $499, equally expensive) game console that powers 4K and HDR gaming natively.
  3. The Xbox Game Pass program, a Netflix-style subscription program that offers access to a large library of games for $10/month.

And this week, the latter of those three got a major update: Starting with “Sea of Thieves” on March 20, all future Microsoft-published Xbox One games will arrive on Game Pass the same day that they’re available to buy in stores.

For example: You could buy “Sea of Thieves” in stores on March 20 for $60, or you could pay $10 for a a month of Game Pass and gain access to it and over 100 other games. Apply that same scenario to, say, the next major “Halo” game, or the next “Forza Motorsport” — it’s a risky move for Microsoft, as it potentially cannibalizes its own retail sales.

But it holds obvious appeal for thrifty players. Who doesn’t want to pay less for games? Games Read More Here