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PC Game Pass is finally here in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam after a preview period last month. This marks a new beginning for Xbox in Southeast Asia, and Microsoft is offering a three-month membership for US$1 to start things out.
From today onwards, PC Game Pass subscribers can play over 100 high-quality PC games including new Xbox Game Studios releases on day one, iconic Bethesda games, and an EA Play membership.
“Our goal is to bring PC Game Pass to more countries where Windows is available to help us reach over three billion gamers worldwide. We are off to a strong start in Southeast Asia where we saw a great demand for PC Game Pass during the preview period,” said Xbox Asia Business Lead Jeremy Hinton.
“We are listening to the players and are always looking to improve the experience. This includes growing the selection of games across genres and providing better language support.”
To explain further on Microsoft’s expansion of the PC Game Pass to Southeast Asia, IGN Southeast Asia spoke to Jeremy Hinton on what subscribers can expect further down the road with this service.
Introduce yourself and how you got into the gaming industry.
I’m Jeremy Hinton and I have been in the gaming industry for 25 years, since my university days. I worked with a distributor here in Sydney, Australia, where we distributed games for the Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, and original PlayStation into the Australian market.
It was an exciting time to be part of the industry and I have great memories from there. Soon after I moved to Microsoft and I have been in the company for the past 17 years. Most of that time, I was focused on the Australian and New Zealand markets, and for the past five years, I have been the Business Lead for Asia.
I am certainly passionate about bettering the needs of our users in Asia and the number of players in Asia by providing better means for them to be Xbox fans in their countries.
Why does Microsoft feel that now is the right time to bring the Xbox PC Game Pass to SEA?
Certainly, up to this point, we were focused on making a great service for PC, which means expanding the library of games and continuing to advance the app on Windows. We felt that we made good progress and we’re ready to expand it around the world.
Southeast Asia is such an obvious choice with the passion of PC gamers in the region. We’ve heard fans say how much they want official access to the Game Pass and we are thrilled to finally do so today.
Do you see the PC Game Pass as a way to introduce PC gamers to old and new Xbox titles, and what efforts are taken to showcase hidden gems?
We definitely see as they come into the service that we can create better gamers as well. With so many games at one low cost, we see that gamers will play a lot of things that they might not have, genres that are new to them.
We do really try to promote titles that we think are your next favourite game, down to having a surprise me button on the app that will randomly suggest a game based on your preferences on the service. As a curated service, we will always have hundreds of games in rotation so that there is always something fresh to play.
This curation is how we keep things focused and allow our subscribers to look through our library and make it easier for them to find what to play next.
What can you tell us about an official Series X|S launch in Southeast Asia? Will we see Xboxes being sold in local Microsoft stores soon?
We do want to bring more of our products to the region, and hopefully, we are in a better position in the future to do later on. For now, the PC Game Pass is what we have on offer.
Will the Southeast Asian Game Pass have a family plan or even cross-promotion with other services like Disney+ just like the American Game Pass?
We’re always listening to our community and the Game Pass will continue to evolve to better the need of players, based on their suggestions and requests.
With Chinatown Detective Agency being the first Southeast Asian game on Game Pass, what initiatives are there for game creators in the region to get their games on Game Pass?
It’s an increased focus for our team to work with game creators in Southeast Asia and have hired more people to focus on building relationships with developers and publishers in this part of the world.
This can continue in a few forms, like our ID@Xbox program that enables pathways for independent creators to publish their games on our platforms. This also enables them to participate in getting their games on the Game Pass and reach a bigger, global audience.
We are really excited about working with even more developers in the region just like we have with Chinatown Detective Agency’s developers, General Interactive Co.
What has the reception to Game Pass from the gaming communities in SEA been like?
The insider preview response has been phenomenal in Southeast Asia, honestly. When we do insider previews, we know that they’re not easy and people have to jump through hoops to help us run tests.
In terms of interests, people who signed up, people who tested, the response was incredible. We are super pleased to be able to move it from an insider test to a proper product for the region. Hopefully, people are as excited as us and more people will play games together on Game Pass.
What are your favourite games of all time and on the Game Pass?
My favourite game of all time would be The Orange Box, and I am also a big fan of baseball with great memories of all sorts of baseball games from the Nintendo 64. Naturally, my favourite game on the Game Pass would be MLB The Show 22.
I’m also very fond of the Forza Horizon series, and my personal favourite would have to be Forza Horizon 3 as it takes place in Australia.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming developers from the region?
I would tell game developers to know who you’re building a game for. I see a lot of content where the content is a hybrid or mix of different genres, and I think as a person more versed in the commercial side of things, knowing your audience is important.
Knowing your opportunity to be able to sell in various parts of the world and the pathways to success, it should be part of your vision of the game. Understanding how to reach your audience is a key component of success.
We’ve seen content really breakthrough thanks to Game Pass, as it gives a collective audience who are looking for new games to play. Especially with multiplayer games, where friends who all subscribe to Game Pass can try out independent games together.