April 24, 2024

Xbox Game Pass members will soon be able to enjoy demos of upcoming games, in what the Microsoft-owned gaming giant is terming Project Moorcroft. This is the first time we’ve heard of this programme’s existence at Xbox. No games have been named as yet. Project Moorcroft will begin its rollout “within the next year”, the Xbox team said. Initially, it will be focused on independent developers, with the aim to provide them “more opportunities to get data about, and build excitement for their games.”

Microsoft also noted that developers will be “compensated” for these demos, and they will be able to see how their demos perform on Xbox Game Pass. That last bit sounds like an attempt by Microsoft to get ahead of criticism that Xbox Game Pass doesn’t make money for anyone, including developers. (It remains a great offering for Xbox and PC gamers though, helping them save money depending on how they approach the service.)

While Microsoft is the first to publicly announce plans to bring demos to its game subscription service, it’s not the only one trying to do so. In late April, a report claimed that Sony has mandated two-hour trials for all upcoming games — that cost north of $34 (roughly Rs. 2,600) — to bolster its enhanced and revamped PlayStation Plus offering. But unlike Microsoft, Sony reportedly isn’t offering “any extra perks”, which suggests developers won’t be compensated for the demos.

“When we create different options for creators around how they choose to monetise, we’re giving them more creative freedom at the same time. And we feel that we have a critical role in that, so the more we drive that innovation, the cooler and more innovative games are going to come out of leveraging that innovation,” Xbox’s corporate vice president for game creator experience and ecosystem Sarah Bond said in a prepared statement.

“We think about how can we invest to make it possible that those game creators can be successful and it’s really about three things,” Bond added. “It’s about the player community, […] investing in development tools, [… and] business models and business model innovation — giving them multiple paths and options to have economic and financial success.”

Microsoft revealed Project Moorcroft on Wednesday in a blog post on Xbox Wire. The first Xbox Game Pass demos are expected “within the next year.” Meanwhile, the new PS Plus has already begun its global rollout, and arrives June 22 in India. But there’s no confirmation on PS Plus demos, let alone word on when the first ones are expected.