Microsoft’s increasing focus on its cloud-based gaming services will be front-and-center at the Seattle Sounders FC match this Saturday.
As part of its Sounders jersey sponsorship deal, Microsoft has released special edition designs for the past three years focusing on games including Forza, Halo, and Gears of War.
Rather than promoting a specific title, Microsoft this year is instead touting Xbox Game Pass, the Netflix-like subscription service that charges gamers $9.99 per month in exchange for access to download more than 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. Players will wear the jerseys for the match against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday in Seattle.
Microsoft launched Game Pass in June 2017 and expanded it this past January to include first-party new releases. It’s part of the company’s continued investment in cloud-related technologies for Xbox. In June, Microsoft announced that it is building a “game streaming network to unlock console-quality gaming on any device.” The company is reportedly working on two new Xbox consoles, including a lower-cost option powered by Microsoft’s cloud streaming service.
Sony has its own similar program called PlayStation Now, which streams hundreds of PS4 and PS3 games, including exclusive titles, to users for $100 per year. EA sells another service called EA Access.
Microsoft Xbox has been a Sounders jersey sponsor since the team first entered MLS in 2009. The original Sounders jerseys featured “Xbox 360,” but Microsoft has gone with the simple “Xbox” for the past several seasons.
Microsoft’s jersey sponsorship contract ends after this season. The Sounders announced last year that it is working with sports management giant WME | IMG to explore a potential new naming rights sponsor for its jerseys, matchday pitch, and training facility.
Microsoft will give away Xbox Game Pass sunglasses to fans at Saturday’s match and provide more information about the service in the concourse of CenturyLink Field. Fans can also have the special Game Pass mark embellished on their jerseys at the stadium Pro Shop on Saturday.