Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s Netflix-style service for games, is about to add what’s arguably its biggest game yet: Gears of War 4.
The news came courtesy of spokesman Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb on Twitter. While his tweet isn’t an outright official announcement, there’s really no other way to interpret the coy tease. As you can see for yourself below, Hryb posted a video of a one-month Game Pass subscription card that’s gradually surrounded by four pins of the Gears logo. Then a date, December 1st, flashes on the screen. The only accompanying text is “#TIL,” presumably short for “today I learned,” meaning he just got the news himself.
— Larry Hryb #XboxOneX (@majornelson) November 15, 2017
Given that every other Gears of War game is already part of the Game Pass library, there’s really no other way to interpret this, short of some kind of willful trolling.
Assuming Gears of War 4 is indeed coming to Xbox Game Pass next month, it’s a big moment for Microsoft’s service. The current library of games, while extensive, tends towards smaller or older games, even when it comes to first-party titles. At the moment, the most recent big game available to subscribers is probably Halo 5: Guardians, which had been out for more than 18 months by it launched as part of the initial Game Pass library in June. (Technically, Halo Wars: Definitive Edition is a much more recent release, but it’s also a remaster of a game from 2009.) That Microsoft is putting a game that launched just over a year ago on the service is a significant departure.
What it means, however, is open to interpretation. Could Microsoft be trying to juice low subscriber numbers by offering a relatively recent, high-profile title? Could Gears of War 4‘s sales numbers and player base be dwindling? Could this simply be an experiment designed to test whether a big, recent game enticing people to join? It’s easy to imagine Microsoft using this example to try to persuade publisher to add newer games, or even as a testbed for Game Pass exclusives, an idea Xbox boss Phil Spencer has floated in the past.
Either way, Game Pass subscribers will soon be getting one of their biggest games—and the newest—yet, and soon.