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Winners and Losers: Game Pass becomes unstoppable while Facebook ruins Oculus VR

If you feel like the week passed you by in a blur, then these are top two tech stories you need to know about, as detailed in Trusted Reviews’ Winners and Losers.

Oh E3 – you never fail to surprise me. Going into this year’s mega event, I was most eager to see what Nintendo had up its sleeve, and to Nintendo’s credit, the last thing I ever expected to see was a reveal for Metroid Dread – a game that’s been 15 years in the making. What surprised me even more was how impressive Microsoft’s conference turned out to be, offering an almost unstoppable barrage of top tier titles that Xbox gamers can look forward to.

While there’s certainly a case to be made that Sony being a no-show at this year’s E3 was a massive letdown, the company narrowly skirts its way outside of the ‘Loser’ spot this week due to the fact that we know several must-have exclusives including God of War 2 and Horizon: Forbidden West are on the way. Instead, this week’s dishonourable mention has been easily swiped by Facebook, after the social media giant announced its latest plans to suck all the fun out of the Oculus VR platform.

Xbox Game Pass

Winner: Game Pass

Just as all roads lead to Rome, all video game discussions amongst the Trusted Reviews team typically return to Game Pass. In the four years that the service has been online, Game Pass has managed to completely reimagine gaming in the modern age, and it’s a service that has so far set the bar against which competitors such as PlayStation Now and Google Stadia have been held to. To say that Game Pass offers impressive value for money would be an understatement, but after this year’s E3, it’s clear that we haven’t seen anything yet.

As the presentation went on, each new reveal was accompanied by the proud statement: ‘Available Day One on Game Pass’. To see this for some of the indie games that were shown would have been enough, but to have that statement go hand-in-hand with major triple-A titles like Forza Horizon 5, Psychonauts 2, Starfield, Back 4 Blood and Age of Empires IV – it’s almost too much to handle.

The addition of Starfield alone will be enough to get legions of fans to sign up to Game Pass, particularly as we now know that the eagerly anticipated Bethesda RPG will be an Xbox exclusive (sorry Sony fans).

At this point in time it’s worth reminding folks that a subscription to Game Pass Ultimate will net you Xbox games, PC titles, access to cloud gaming and EA Play, as well as the ability to earn real life prizes simply by playing your favourite games. Given that a year’s subscription costs about the same amount as two PS5 games, Sony has to present a genuine alternative or risk losing out completely.

Oculus Quest 2

Loser: Oculus VR

Remember when Oculus VR used to be fun? I’ll never forget trying out an Oculus Rift for the first time, but it seems as though the VR pioneer has been on a downward slope since being bought out by Facebook several years ago.

As of October of last year, it is now impossible to use an Oculus VR headset without also having a Facebook account. That also means that if you ever fancy unplugging yourself from the matrix and deleting your Facebook account for good, then you might as well sell your VR headset too as it’ll be useless to you.

Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, Facebook has now announced that it will begin placing advertisements into various sections of the Oculus UI, meaning that if you ever saw VR as an escape from our ad-ridden reality then the illusion is about to come crashing down.

At this point, it’s not too hard to imagine a future update where Oculus users are required to pledge their unyielding loyalty to Mark Zuckerberg before playing a round of Beat Saber. If ever there was an opportunity for a non-Facebook owned VR alternative to crop up, this would be it.

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