What Is Xbox Game Pass? Everything You Need to Know
If you are a big console or PC gamer, it might be worth buying Xbox Game Pass. This is a digital subscription service that gives you access to an ever-expanding catalog of over 100 games, plus exclusive discounts and deals.
You can buy Xbox Game Pass for Xbox One and PC. There’s also a subscription tier that covers both platforms. We’re going to explain everything you need to know about Xbox Game Pass, including what games you get and how much it costs.
What Is Xbox Game Pass?
Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service from Microsoft. It launched in 2017 for Xbox One and in 2019 for PC.
Xbox Game Pass gives subscribers access to over 100 games and the library is constantly changing. There are three types of membership: Console, PC, and Ultimate (which includes both console and PC games).
All memberships include:
- Access to an evolving library of over 100 games for PC/Xbox One
- 10 percent discount when buying a game in the library
- 20 percent discount when buying related game add-ons
The Ultimate membership also includes:
- Xbox Live Gold membership, which allows for Xbox One online play
- Occasional early access to new games like Gears 5
If you are buying an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription and already have an existing PC/Console subscription or an Xbox Live Gold membership, the remaining time you’ve paid for will be converted into your Ultimate subscription for up to 36 months.
What Games Are Included With Xbox Game Pass?
There are over 100 games included in Xbox Game Pass. These include Xbox 360 games (to be played on the Xbox One, as the Game Pass isn’t available for the 360), Xbox One games, and PC games. Some games are compatible with both of the latter two platforms.
Some classic Xbox 360 games included are Viva Piñata, Toy Soldiers, Splosion Man, and Mass Effect. All great experiences that can still be enjoyed to this day.
Xbox One has awesome modern games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Rocket League, Minecraft, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
PC gamers are treated to titles like Imperator: Rome, Football Manager 2019, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Sunset Overdrive. There’s also Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and Abzu, both of which we included on our list of PC games perfect to play in short bursts .
Those who have purchased the Ultimate pass get access to all the games above, alongside those which are available for both Xbox One and PC. This includes games like Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4, Metro Exodus, and ARK: Survival Evolved.
When Are New Games Added to Xbox Game Pass?
There’s no set schedule for when new games get added. Microsoft simply state that they “are added all the time.” However, it is guaranteed that Xbox Game Studio titles will be available on launch. This includes all the subsidiary developers like Mojang, Obsidian, Ninja Theory, Rare, and Double Fine.
Unlike something like PlayStation Plus, where the monthly games forever remain in your library as long as you’re subscribed, Xbox Game Pass only lets you play those in its current catalog. As titles can be removed over time, if you’re halfway through one, you’ll have to purchase it in order to carry on playing. Microsoft offers discounts on titles affected by this.
How Much Does Xbox Game Pass Cost?
Xbox Game Pass bills on a monthly basis and can be canceled at any time. Pricing will vary per region, but these are the costs for people resident in the United States.
The Console pass costs $9.99/month. For the PC pass, the first month can currently be bought for $1, with subsequent months charged at $4.99/month. Though this is an introductory price and will normally be $9.99/month when the promotion ends at an unspecified date in the future.
The Ultimate pass costs $14.99/month, which offers both PC and Xbox games, an Xbox Live Gold subscription, and other goodies. If you own both platforms and want to play online on the console, the Ultimate pass definitely offers the best value, especially considering Xbox Live Gold costs $9.99/month alone. You can also get Ultimate at $1 for the first month.
Where Is Xbox Game Pass Available?
Xbox Game Pass is available in the following countries:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
However, note the following restrictions:
- Russia: membership is only available for purchase from local retailers or third-party online sellers
- South Korea and Turkey: the PC games plan is not available
While it’s available in a lot of big markets, it’s still missing lots of lucrative countries, even those that can buy other gaming services. Reasons for the restrictions could be technical limitations, licensing agreements, or local laws.
How Do I Buy Xbox Game Pass?
The best place to buy Xbox Game Pass is through Microsoft’s websites for Console, PC, and Ultimate. Although you can buy codes through other stores, generally you’re going to get the best value from Microsoft directly.
To play PC games you will need to have the Xbox Beta app, which can be installed through the link above, and the latest version of Windows 10.
Prepare Your Xbox One for the Game Pass
If you have time to play lots of different games, Xbox Game Pass is going to be really worthwhile. Not only do you get access to modern hits, but a wide back catalog of classic hits as well.
With all of these games to download, you’re probably going to need a bigger hard drive for your console. Take a look at everything you need to know about Xbox One hard drives to find out more.