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Project Moorcroft is Microsoft's plan to pay devs to make demos for Xbox Game Pass

Try hard.

Microsoft has revealed Project Moorcroft, a new program that will bring demos of upcoming games to Xbox Game Pass.

Set to roll out within the next year, Project Moorcroft will see Microsoft pay developers to create demos of their upcoming games and bring them to the subscription service. Microsoft did not say whether there's a mandated time-limit for these demos, or how long they will stick around the subscription service after launch.

The program kicks off with a focus on demos for indie games and helping their developers get data about and build excitement for their games.

Microsoft will let developers who make demos for Game Pass see how they perform, as well as pay them.

All the big Xbox Game Pass announcements from 2021's Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase.

"We were sitting around as a team thinking, you remember it used to be you go to E3, you go to PAX, and you would go visit some of your favourite creators and they would have a piece or a level of a game that you could sit there and play, and there would be someone from the studio like right next to you in your ear being like: 'press that button, go under there, do that stuff.'

"And you would get to experience the game, and they would get to generate excitement about what they're building and what's coming next," said Sarah Bond, corporate vice president, game creator experience and ecosystem, said during a presentation shown to press this week.

"Those opportunities are getting smaller and smaller and more difficult to replicate. And they're especially difficult for indie developers, smaller studios that don't have as much resource necessarily to put on their own show to attract a big audience.

"So we said you know what? Why don't we take Game Pass and make it like the show floor? Why don't we make it possible for a developer to take a piece, a level of their game, release it into Game Pass, generate excitement for what's coming, and also get that really valuable feedback as they are tuning and preparing their game for launch?"

Explaining why Microsoft will pay developers for their demos, Bond added: "It's important to us that everything we do has benefit for both our players and for creators. So as part of this, we've set up the program and structured it so that the developers actually get financial compensation for the game and actually benefits them financially and also get the benefit of the great feedback as well."

Sony added a Game Trials feature to PlayStation 5 back in October, with time-limited demos available initially for Death Stranding Director's Cut and Sackboy: A Big Adventure.

The pricier new PlayStation Plus Premium subscription also includes time-limited PS4 and PS5 game trials - Sony reportedly informed developers a game demo lasting at least two hours will now be required for any title which costs $34 or higher (around £27).

Microsoft made a raft of Xbox-related announcements today, including the ability to play Xbox games on a telly without a console. Here's everything Microsoft announced for Xbox today in handy roundup form.

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Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editorial Director

Wesley is deputy editorial director of ReedPop. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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