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In a nutshell: The next-gen subscription war is heating up. Along with Sony's restructuring of PlayStation Plus (PS Plus), it is bringing timed demos to certain games. As if to follow suit, Xbox announced today that it would be bringing indie game demos to Game Pass subscribers. It's also adding another perk for Ultimate members that lets them play games they own from the cloud.
On Thursday, Microsoft held its "What's Next For Gaming" presentation outlining what the folks at Xbox have been brewing. The blog post mentioned Project Moorcroft, a venture aiming to bring curated demos to Xbox Game Pass subscribers. The move sounds somewhat like Sony's idea of timed trials for games over $35 for PS Plus Premium members.
However, Moorcroft is focused more on getting indie developers noticed, even going so far as compensating them for creating demos of their games to host on Game Pass. It also allows studios to see how well received their titles are and gather feedback from players as they polish games for release.
Microsoft's CVP of Game Creator Experience and Ecosystem Sarah Bond told gaming outlet Stevivor that Project Moorhead aims to recreate the hands-on feel that has been missing for the last couple of years due to the lack of an E3 in-person experience (above).
"Why don't we take Game Pass and make it like the show floor?" said Bond. "Why don't we make it possible for a developer to take a piece, a level of their game, release it into Game Pass, generate excitement for what's coming, and also get that really valuable feedback as they're tuning and preparing their game for launch?"
Microsoft didn't have a solid timeframe for when Game Pass would start posting these demos. However, it did mention Project Moorcroft in the same breath as another new perk rolling out to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.
Starting later this year, Xbox will begin allowing Ultimate members to play "select" games they own from the cloud. It will even work with games purchased outside of their Game Pass library. While playing from the cloud is certainly not better than playing installed titles, it allows players access their games from mobile devices, PCs, or anytime they are away from their console.