Xbox Game Pass has been called the “Netflix for video games” by many of its fans. There’s a big reason for that. Major console and PC games are getting more and more expensive. It appears that $70 will be the normal price for major games for the new Microsoft Xbox Series X console. However, with this service, Microsoft offers gamers a way to play tons of Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows 10 games for one low monthly price.
What is this service, how much does it cost, and is it the perfect way to charge into gaming for both newbies and hardcore gamers? We have all you want to know about Microsoft’s game service, and its beefier brother, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
What is Xbox Game Pass?
Launched in 2017, the subscription service offers over 200 Xbox compatible games to owners of Xbox consoles. That includes many of Microsoft’s own first-party games. In 2018, Microsoft announced that it would add its newest first-party games to this service the same date as the games launched for sale. The catalog also includes older Xbox 360 games that are backwards compatible with the Xbox One console. There’s also a separate Game Pass For PC. It includes access to over 200 games for Windows 10-based laptops and desktops. Subscribers also get special game discounts and deals that are not available for non-members.
What is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?
This more expensive version of the service launched in 2019. In addition to being able to play over 200 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games for a monthly fee, it adds Game Pass for PC and EA Play as well. Also, Ultimate includes full support for Xbox Live Gold, which enables online multiplayer support for all Xbox games, and free game downloads. In addition to discounts and deals, Ultimate subscribers also get some free in-game content for some games and some deals from third-party partners.
Finally, the service is the home for Microsoft’s Xbox cloud gaming. Formerly known as Project xCloud, it offers over 150 Xbox One and PC games via cloud streaming for Android-based smartphones and tablets.
How much does it cost?
Xbox Game Pass costs $9.99 a month, and Game Pass for PC also costs $9.99 a month. The Ultimate version of the service costs $14.99 a month. In that respect, the Ultimate tier is by far the better value, since it combines Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass for PC, plus Xbox Live Gold (a $9.99 a month service on its own), EA Play, plus the cloud gaming service.
You can also purchase 1, 3, 6, or 12-month digital codes for the service at online retailers, including Amazon.com.
Where is it available?
The service is available in the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
Do I get to keep all of the games if I stop using the service?
No. Once you stop your subscription to Xbox Game Pass, all of the games available on the service are no longer available to you. That includes games you have downloaded to your Xbox console or Windows 10 PC. If you bought DLC items for any game you accessed via the service, they still belong to you. However, you can not use them unless you actually pay for the games.
Do games leave Xbox Game Pass?
Yes. While Microsoft constantly adds new games to the service, it also removes others on a regular basis. You can keep up with Microsoft’s current list of Xbox and PC games on the official Xbox Game Pass web site.
Is there a mobile app for the service?
Yes. The Xbox Game Pass mobile app for Android and iOS allows subscribers to keep track of their games. You will also get notifications when new games go live on the service. You can even use the app to order your Xbox console to download the game if you are not at home. This will allow you to start playing the game when you get back to your house.
In addition, the Android version of the app is the way for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers to stream and play games via the cloud gaming service. That feature is not available on the iOS version of the app.
Does Xbox Game Pass have rivals?
Microsoft is not the only company that offers a way to play a ton of console and PC games for one monthly price. Here are a few of its competitors:
Electronic Arts recently combined its two-game subscription services, EA Access and Origin Access Basic, into the new brand EA Play. You can play a selection of older EA games for $4.99 a month, or $29.99 for a year. You can also get access to new EA games before it releases them for 10 hours of free demo time, plus discounts on purchasing full games. It’s available in PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 platforms. There’s also EA Play Pro just for PC games, which offers unlimited access to the publisher’s newest games, with all of its extra DLC content. It costs $14.99 a month or $99.99 a year.
EA and Microsoft have now added EA Play in the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundle for no additional cost. Some EA Play games are available on Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service for Android devices. EA Play will also be available at no additional cost for people who just sign up for Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for PC service in December 2020.
Unlike Xbox Game Pass or EA Play, this service is strictly for PC owners. Publisher Ubisoft offers those gamers access to over 100 gamers for the price of $14.99 a month. That price does include new games from Ubisoft the day they are released, plus you get the full versions of those games, including any additional DLC content. It also offers early access and betas for upcoming games.
That’s our look at Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription service. We will update this article when the company makes changes or adds features to the service.