Game Pass Could Undermine Switch Online And Leech Playerbase
There's also a strong possibility that Xbox Game Pass could undermine Nintendo's own Switch Online service. This wouldn't happen right away. It'd be more of a slow burn. We know Game Pass is built as an additive branch to the Xbox-as-a-service platform and could pull users over to its own ecosystem by using Game Pass on Switch as a doorway, the same way the service is a doorway to Microsoft's own platform. This folds into the technical hurdles of such a service on the Switch that we'll outline below.
Make no mistake: Microsoft doesn't want to share a platform or a player base. It simply wants to make money, and it would do so by undercutting its host, as any company would. And by letting a service like Game Pass onto a more closed, Nintendo-only ecosystem, the company could risk a kind of leeching of its installed base and player base. Game Pass on Switch would be kind of "lite" consolidated version with lots of missing games. I expect if it comes to Switch, Game Pass will be a multi-console service, so any active subscription can play and download games on multiple platforms.
That's great for gamers, but bad for platform-holders like Nintendo. To get the rest of the Game Pass games missing from Switch, players could just jump on their PCs or buy an Xbox One and potentially leave the Switch ecosystem.
Game Pass is a competing service on a competing platform, and the only reason Microsoft wants to bring it anywhere else is because of accessibility. Its own Xbox hardware platform isn't so hot insofar as install base and sales; in fact, the hardware install base isn't a primary goal for Microsoft anymore. It's learned to leverage a rich bedrock of services to compensate for sales losses.
But with the Switch's massively growing install base that just broke 32 million units, Microsoft sees potential (at least theoretically via the rumors). It's also a massive undertaking though.
Game Pass is specifically designed to feed into the Xbox service webwork. It's designed to get you hooked and get you buying, playing, and spending money in, games, all while interacting with other players. That's not really something you can do on Switch as it is, so players could jump ship and go to Xbox (or just game on Windows 10 PCs) instead.
Plus how would multiplayer work with Game Pass games on Switch? Would users have to buy Switch Online and subscribe to Game Pass too, similar to needing Xbox LIVE Gold to play GP titles online with friends?
This would probably be the case, but interactivity and community-driven engagement would be interrupted as the Switch doesn't really have adequate tools for expanded multiplayer gaming. Microsoft wouldn't like this. The company likes its social aspects to be as open as possible, whether it be party chats, community tabs, or Mixer streams--there's always some way to interact with others in a more free environment.
Nintendo, on the other hand, has basic tools and restricts communication.