Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can now access a new 10-hour trial of an upcoming game that has been likened to Monster Hunter since its unveiling.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can now access a 10-hour free trial of Wild Hearts, a soon-to-be-released Monster Hunter-like game. Those on the fence about Wild Hearts can enjoy the trial, and if they like the game, any achievements will be transferable.
In Wild Hearts, players take on the role of a Hunter tasked with defeating Kemono within several large areas that make up Azuma’s world.
The player has eight different weapon types. It can build items and traversal mechanics and unlock new weapons and armour. Reportedly, Wild Hearts will take around 30 hours to complete, at least as far as the main story is concerned. That means fans can try out a third of the game with the Game Pass Ultimate Trial.
To clarify, Wild Hearts will not be released on Xbox Game Pass. So, fans will then have to buy the game at total price. Technically, this demo is available through EA Play. It is linked to the Game Pass Ultimate subscription level. Ten hours is plenty for those who want to try it out before the February 17 release date. But for those waiting for the entire game to come to the service, there’s a busy week on top of the trial.
Could Xbox Game Pass cause a drop in game sales?!
Microsoft’s ongoing acquisition of Activision Blizzard is being investigated by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The preliminary investigation report, issued on February 8, will provide further details on how Xbox Game Pass is affecting sales.
According to Microsoft, core game sales do indeed decline after inclusion in Game Pass. “Microsoft also submitted that its internal analysis shows a [redacted]% decline in base game sales twelve months following their addition on Game Pass,” the CMA said in a statement.
Later in the report, Microsoft’s internal documents also admit that Game Pass cannibalises direct purchases of games (buy-to-play or B2P in the report). No exact figure is known, as three different figures in internal correspondence were redacted in the CMA report.
This differs from what Microsoft’s games chief Phil Spencer said in a 2018 Levelup.com interview, where he claimed that Game Pass is actually driving core game sales. Microsoft’s comments on Game Pass are in the report section, where Microsoft argues that subscription services like Game Pass (MGS) are not a separate market from B2P. Microsoft considers Game Pass and other subscription services as a different payment method from B2P.
In support of its argument, Microsoft has also submitted evidence that players frequently switch between the two different “payment methods.” In the interim report, the CMA states that “console B2P and MGS are within the same product market, but recognise there is some differentiation between the two.”
As for the overall acquisition, the CMA “provisionally concludes” that the acquisition “could result in higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation for UK gamers.”
It also recommended possible measures Microsoft could take to secure approval for the acquisition. These include the Activision unit and the possible omission of Call of Duty from the merger. The CMA’s final report will be published on or before April 26, 2023.
In addition to the CMA, Microsoft is also currently facing an FTC lawsuit over Activision’s acquisition of Blizzard. The European Union is also reportedly preparing to issue an antitrust warning to Microsoft. The EU has until April 11 to make a decision.