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Something to look forward to: The open nature of PC gaming has always lent it a broader international reach than the console market. Microsoft appears to be making PC Game Pass reflect this fact with its end-of-February expansion. The development comes just in time for new arrivals on the service like Atomic Heart and Wo Long.
Effective immediately, Microsoft is rolling out PC Game Pass availability to 40 additional countries spread throughout Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, bringing the total number of supported countries to 86. None of the new regions appear on the list of countries where Microsoft officially sells Xbox consoles or supports console Game Pass, suggesting they are receiving the company's gaming subscriptions for the first time. Users in these places can purchase PC games through Microsoft's storefront and others like Steam but haven't had official access to PC Game Pass until now.
Windows users in the new countries can sign up for the PC Game Pass Preview program and pay a special testing price for the first month. The preview includes all games available on PC Game Pass in the primary regions like North America and the UK, including the latest additions and games from EA Play.
Game Pass recently added Mundfish's Atomic Heart upon its February 21 launch. Merge & Blade, Soul Hackers 2, F1 22, and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty get added to the catalog in March. Games leaving Game Pass this week include Alien: Isolation, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Madden NFL 21, and Octopath Traveler. In the coming months, subscribers everywhere, including the new countries, will receive access to Minecraft Legends and Redfall.
The only feature unavailable in the new regions is cloud gaming. So users in the following countries can only download and install games locally rather than streaming:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- North Macedonia
Redmond is expanding Game Pass despite recently admitting in internal analyses that it cannibalizes traditional buy-to-play sales of included games. The subscription service, which could become an essential new front in the competition between game platforms, is a central concern in regulators' responses to Microsoft's bid to purchase Activision Blizzard. The $69.7 billion acquisition would put the top-selling Call of Duty franchise on Game Pass, which some fear would give it an unfair advantage over competitors like PlayStation Plus.