Japan has historically been a difficult market for Microsoft's gaming efforts, but despite the poor performance, Microsoft has seemingly no intentions of giving up on that market. Today, Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division at Microsoft, announced that Xbox Game Pass is coming to Japan starting April 14.
Xbox Game Pass was officially launched in 2017, and it lets users pay a single monthly fee for unlimited access to a library of over 100 games, with frequent updates adding more to the mix. Among many third-party titles, games published by Xbox Game Studios are added to the service on the same day they release. Last year, a new variant of the program was introduced for PC users, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate was also launched to include both console and PC variants, as well as Xbox Live Gold.
All of these options will be available in Japan when the service launches next week, and it will include the same games that are available in other markets. In Japan, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will cost ¥1,100 (roughly $10.11) per month, while the separate console and PC subscriptions will cost ¥850 ($7.81) and ¥425 ($3.90) per month, respectively.
With Japan now officially in a state of emergency due to COVID-19, it's likely that many people will find themselves with some more time to play games, so Xbox Game Pass could help Microsoft capitalize on that. It remains to be seen if and how it will influence sales of Xbox hardware in the future, though.