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Every time I turn on my Xbox Series X, I check what new Game Pass titles are available to download. I do my best to keep up with new game releases – it’s my job, after all – but I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t actually recognize most of the games being added to the service each month. Luckily, the Xbox community on social media will talk about the highlights. Slime Rancher 2, Disney Dreamlight Valley, and Signalis are all fairly recent releases that the community won’t let you forget any time soon. Xbox Game Pass gives you access to a lot of quality titles, at a far lower price than what you’d pay to play all of them. Without question, Xbox Game Pass is the best value in gaming.

That’s what I used to think, at least. I keep turning on my Series X and browsing the library of games, and I find myself paralyzed – either by choice, or the lack of it. Thanks to Game Pass I’ve been able to try dozens of games that I wouldn’t have otherwise tried at all. The likes of Guardians of the Galaxy and Assassin’s Creed Origins are really decent games that I just wouldn’t ordinarily spend my own money on.

Only, I didn’t finish Guardians of the Galaxy, and I don’t think I will. Same goes for Assassin’s Creed Origins. And Odyssey. And so many other games I’ve lost count. These games don’t really appeal to me, and while I appreciate the chance to give them a try, my curiosity is now satisfied, and I won’t be going back. It’s a bit ridiculous to claim that a service with hundreds of games on it doesn’t appeal to me at all, but what does appeal to me here, I’ve played.

I love Tetris Effect, it’s amazing. I’ve been playing it since the PSVR release. Octopath Traveller is a fun JRPG, and I picked it up on Nintendo Switch years prior. The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy appeals to me in some weird way, so of course I picked up Xbox 360 copies of the games. Heck, I even had a physical copy of Blinx The Timesweeper on my shelf before it was added to Game Pass, for some reason. I’m a huge fan of video games, and when something appeals to me, it’s rare that I’ll ignore it.

Thank goodness for Microsoft’s own slate of releases, then. Halo Infinite might not be the best Halo campaign ever made, but I thoroughly enjoyed my romp through a somewhat repetitive slice of space. Same goes for Forza Horizon 5, a game I wouldn’t usually look at for long, but adored throughout my time with it. Gears 5 might be one that I’d played already, but it was worth redownloading to finally get to grips with the Hivebusters DLC. When a good game releases on Game Pass, it once again feels like the best value in gaming.

But right now, I’ve spent months with Game Pass and haven’t been interested in a single new addition. The service is filling up with dozens upon dozens of titles that gamers with a higher tolerance than I class as “good, but not worth paying for.” Twelve Minutes seemed like an interesting Groundhog Day-style story, but what unfolded left most people with a sour taste.

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The same goes for Scorn, which seemed to be marketed as a shooter in a Giger-esque world, and turned out to be more like Myst with some truly awful shooting in the middle. I know some people enjoyed their time with these games, but I have to ask: did you? Did you really? Would you recommend anyone spend money on these titles? You might say yes, to which I reply… good for you.

“Good, but not worth paying for” is the prevailing opinion I get from friends that subscribe to Xbox Game Pass and pick up random titles. Sure, there’s the odd gem in there, like Donut County, an indie diamond that you might’ve overlooked at release, but there are so many more games that are just another piece of content that you’re paying for. It’s like going deep into Netflix’s library and finding a ‘90s movie that you’ve never heard of, featuring no actors that you recognize. The service is filled with them, but since the best of the best is what is marketed and pushed in your face the most, you’d never know it.

Game Pass isn’t quite like Netflix, in that while the big games are what communities are talking about, it’s very easy to just log in and scroll through a full list of titles available right now. And there are so many, so densely packed onto the screen, that I can’t take in all of the titles and artwork at once. I don’t know which games are good, or which games would appeal to me. There might be another diamond in the rough, and I’m totally unable to pull it out and evaluate it for myself. What’s worse, is that I’m not sure I want to.

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Who has the time to delve deep into the Game Pass library? Who has the energy to dig up and discover the truly interesting and inventive games, when a Myst-like in which everything is made of gross flesh is the game that gets the most marketing that month? That just might appeal to you, but the mainstream? Or heck, me? If this ultra-niche title is the cream of the crop in any given month, I have to question why I’m paying the subscription that month.

Xbox Game Pass is a truly impressive service, indisputably the best value in gaming, but when Microsoft isn’t firing on all cylinders, neither is the service. It’s being held up by indie releases month-in and month-out currently, a seemingly unending churn of experiences that you just would never pay for in isolation. And if you wouldn’t pay for them, what value are you personally getting?