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How good is Gamepass? An updated analysis of 456 GamePass games and 851 PSNow games

Hello Xbox community!

Around five months ago, I made this post: (https://www.reddit.com/r/xboxone/comments/k1ca5u/how_good_is_gamepass_a_quantitative_analysis_of/) and it was received quite positively, so I figured it would be interesting to look at the numbers again six months later after EA Play, Bethesda and recent additions.

TLDR for people in a rush:

After deduplication*, there are a total of 456 unique Game Pass games, out of which 96 can only be played on PC. That's an increase of 19.4% or 74 new games in 127 days since the post;

The gap between PC and Xbox Gamepass in terms of games count is decreasing quickly, and right now there is only a difference of five games between the two catalogs (360 vs 355). This doesn't mean that all Xbox games are available on PC, just that the total numbers are closer since PC-exclusive games were added;

The average Metacritic score of all GP games (PC+Console) is 77.8. The median Metacritic score of all GP games is still 79;

43.6% of all Gamepass games (199/456) are 80+ Metacritic (which will be my criteria for “good” here). 16.7% of all Gamepass games (76/456) are 85+ Metacritic. Both those percentages are slightly lower than they were six months ago, although absolute numbers are higher;

If you have to choose between PC GP and Xbox GP, the choice is actually much more complicated than it was six months ago. The number of games in each is really close (360 vs 355) and the average MC score is slightly higher on PC (78.04 vs 77.82). However, you must be ok with using EA Play client (and it must work for you) as it brings a lot of value** to the PC catalog.

If you have Xbox GP, getting a PC brings you 36 additional “good” games (+22%) that you wouldn’t be able to play otherwise (this does not take into account games that are better on PC). This is quite an increase compared to six months ago;

I put below a comparison with PSNow since it was asked last time, but to be honest comparing them doesn't tell you much. Aside from being subscription services in competing brands they have a different approach and serve different purposes.

Detailed results

https://preview.redd.it/y97myrkhzqw61.png?width=676&format=png&auto=webp&s=7c5e7211aa29d966d29252dd71dc7316fe05af3b

Looking at total game counts first, the situation has changed quite a lot since last time. EA Play was added to PC GP as well as the Bethesda catalog, closing the gap between Xbox and PC significantly. Six months ago PC GP was a nice bonus on top of console GP but today it's basically comparable in value and number of games.

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https://preview.redd.it/fqqde9lh0rw61.png?width=639&format=png&auto=webp&s=efb970e1ce0ee10bdc9eaa3c234993c1f0dd9d88

Looking at the quality of the catalog now, not much has actually changed and this is mostly similar to six months ago. Average MC score has dropped by +/- 0.05 point but median MC remains the same at 79.

GP now has 199 games with 80+ MC Score and should reach 200 when Dragon Quest Builders 2 gets added this week.

https://preview.redd.it/jr8zzfn51rw61.png?width=1340&format=png&auto=webp&s=ca061ef5e414ad36e3af14dfa1b9c6050302fbc3

Looking at the split between PC and Console GP, Console still has slightly more good games (163 vs 154) but PC has a slightly higher average MC score (see "subcategories" below).

Subcategories

The share of indie titles in the GP catalog keeps decreasing over time, a trend which imo goes beyond Gamepass and is representative of the industry's decreased focus on them.

Six months ago, indies were 38% of the catalog but are now only 30% (those numbers may shift slightly depending on your definition of indie games). Back then I thought the ratio would increase since indies are cheaper to add, but the data proved me wrong.

Indie games' average MC has decreased even further from 76.3 to 75.6, so they actually weigh down the overall Metacritic score even further.

Looking at the overall subcategories' score, first party games' average is highest (especially now that Bethesda is considered first party), followed by EA Play. Indies have the lowest average score.

https://preview.redd.it/laebz0fj2rw61.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=cb55d8ca1c9532edf9a9a0494daf36ee54a31187

Generations

Finally, and as would be expected, the ratio of 360/OG Xbox games keeps decreasing in the catalog as new games get added. It is now down to 11.9% of the total catalog (including PC games) or 14.7% of the console-only catalog. It was 13.6% of the total catalog six months ago.

https://preview.redd.it/a62wufqd4rw61.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=6f28d10d4a4d8a8f4c91a5bb26247ec75c9be883

Comparison with PSNow

A couple disclaimers:

– I took the PSNow data from psnowguide.com, which made my work a lot easier by pre-splitting data by MC range and console. From the checks I did this site is accurate and up to date but feel free to point out any error. Also I want to thank them in case they read this post!

– I did not do any deduplication on the PSNow data, when there are definitely some edge cases (for example The Last of Us and The Last of Us – Left Behind are counted as separate games, and there are six different Blazblue games in the catalog);

– There are country restrictions which may limit the catalog – the data assumes you have access to everything.

The first thing to consider is the catalog size. PSNow clearly has the advantage here, even if you merge PC and Console GamePass:

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https://preview.redd.it/cc3hsgwc6rw61.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=88193a9b218ccb5e9176296ca48683b95bbede97

With such a gap, and even considering GP adding games much faster, it will be a couple years*** until GamePass catches up to the catalog size.

The second aspect to consider is that over half (51.5%) of PSNow's catalog is PS3 games which are streaming only. If streaming doesn't work well with your connection or you don't want to use it, then things look a bit different:

https://preview.redd.it/fbx46h408rw61.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=0de42781d88300b22ee4eff404b62eabb45b4e03

With 413 downloadable games (PS4+PS2) vs 360 console-only GP games, PSNow still has the numbers' advantage and should retain it for a couple more months at least.

Another thing to note is this makes the PSNow catalog significantly older on average: 51.5% of PSNow's catalog is PS3 generation while only 14.7% of GP's console catalog is OG or 360.

Now the third aspect to consider is the quality of the catalog, and this is where the different approaches start to show:

https://preview.redd.it/ase36n888rw61.png?width=1125&format=png&auto=webp&s=7a726d535289df635cf4614999d38596fad33e62

Despite having 87% more games, PSNow actually has fewer 80+ games compared to GP in absolute numbers (180 vs 199). It has on the other hand sixteen times the amount of below 60 MC games so the curation approach is quite different to say the least.

This is reflected in the average Metacritic score of both platforms. Since PSNowguide only provides ranges, I can only calculate the highest possible average**** MC score for PSNow. Even this highest possible value is 3 points lower than GP's average (74.7 vs 77.8).

Those were absolute values but percentages are as follows:

https://preview.redd.it/14xqzium9rw61.png?width=1084&format=png&auto=webp&s=b33a87a855dbe2bd6edbb2c4f31cef65bf38ff48

GP has (38.4+5.3) = 43.7% of 80+ MC games where PSNow has (18.3+2.8) = 21.1%.

The third aspect to consider is how quality and streaming/download interact with each other:

https://preview.redd.it/cgzj23w7lrw61.png?width=841&format=png&auto=webp&s=1b596f6d63a5a89441c422cc4dcbeecd1084ba0e

Basically, PS3 games represent 51.5% of the games and 58.3% of the "good" games. So the catalog skews towards older games, and the "good" catalog skews even further.

So which one is better?

First, I'm going to assume that you buy either at the best possible "standard" price without using any loophole such as the Gold conversion trick or the EA Play trick and do not use any discount. This would put PSNow at around half the cost of GP.

At this point, it really depends what you are after and what setup you have.

Do you favour catalog size? PSNow is definitely the better option since it's cheaper and gives you more games.

Do you favour 80+ MC games? If you cannot or do not want to use streaming, then Gamepass is better for you. If you do, then PSNow is slightly more cost-efficient.

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Do you favour catalog recency? Then GP is better, with a significantly more recent catalog on average.

Overall, GP is the more expensive, better curated, more frequently updated service while PSNow's purpose seems to be primarily to make use of the back catalog and offer a cheaper, complementary service. That's why I said in the beginning that a direct comparison doesn't necessarily work.

Important notes

The data was collected with a mix of different methods and may contain the occasional mistake, feel free to point it out in the comments and I'll correct the post.

* Please check my last post for more details about deduplication and methodology used;

** You must use EA Play, and in some cases it may not work for you or you don't want to share data with EA. In addition, some games available on PC EA Play are not listed in the official GP Catalog and I have no idea why. I don't know if those games are not supposed to be available but I can confirm they work fine (I tested a couple of them). They could disappear without any notice in the future though.

*** Assuming 74 games added in 127 days for GP, and an average of 5 games per month for PSNow it would take 2.6 years. Of course, this is not hard science since anything can change in that time.

**** PSNow guide only tells you if a game is in the 20-29, 30-39, 40-49 etc. range, so the max MC can be calculated by assuming all 20-29 games are 29, all 30-39 are 39, etc. This is obviously not the case in reality but tells you the highest possible value.

Source

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