Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass is a game subscription service akin to Netflix or Disney Plus. Xbox Game Pass is seemingly built around two ideas.
The first is that game production is expensive, and not every release makes money, which creates instability and could ultimately harm creativity in the industry as a whole. So locking consumers into a paid monthly tier subscription guarantees revenue for all studios, people, and projects, regardless of whether one game is less successful than another game.
The second is that games are too expensive for a lot of people, especially in developing nations where gaming is growing in popularity but still largely inaccessible due to import costs and currency exchange rates.
So Xbox Game Pass seeks to make gaming a bit more inclusive by giving more people an opportunity to sample and enjoy a selection of A, AA, and AAA quality games that they can play for as long as they like, all for prices starting at $10 a month. If you still want to pay for the physical release of a game so you can put the disc on your shelf, you can still do that too!
The service is available on Xbox and PC.
Here is a breakdown of each.
Game Pass for Xbox
One caveat for Xbox Game Pass on Xbox consoles is that you will need an Xbox Live subscription that gives you access to all online features for games like Gears of War, Fortnite, Forza, and others. If you already have Xbox Live, you will need to pay $10 a month to add Game Pass. If you don’t have Live, you can pay $15 a month for Game Pass Ultimate, which includes everything, along with the xCloud game streaming service that lets you stream select games to your compatible phone or tablet.
Game Pass for PC
PC players have long enjoyed free access to online services in most games, and this continues with Game Pass for PC. For $10 a month, you get access to a similar library of games as found on the Xbox Console, without the need to pay $5 a month for Live. However, the current selection of games on PC is smaller compared to its Xbox counterpart, something that Microsoft will need to continue remedying in the future.
Another negative for PC users is that you will need to use the Xbox Store, which, when compared to Steam, can be a messy or incomplete feeling experience.
Game Pass includes many first-party studio titles, along with a rotating roster of games from third-party studios.
Microsoft is in the process of making all first-party studio games available on Game Pass. This includes all past and future titles from their recent $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda. So expect to see Skyrim, Doom, Prey, and many other titles on the service in the future if they already aren’t available.
Along with Bethesda, past and future releases from their first-party studios will be included. These studios include:
- 343 Industries
- World’s Edge
- The Coalition
- Compulsion Games
- Double Fine
- Xbox Game Studios Publishing
- The Initiative
- Mojang Studios
- Ninja Theory
- Playground Games
- Turn 10
- Undead Labs
Microsoft also recently announced a deal with EA to make select EA Play titles and demos available to Game Pass subscribers at no extra cost. To add more EA Play titles, you will need to pay $5 a month or $30 for the entire year. There are rumors that Ubisoft, or other studios, could make similar deals with Microsoft, but we’ll have to wait and see how these things play out.
Is GamePass Worth It?
At around $15 on the Xbox console, the service is a great deal if you play a lot of games. For the entire year, you will spend $180 dollars to access a relatively impressive library of games. Considering new releases cost $60, you may be saving a considerable amount of money.
For PC users, you may want to pass. Many of the titles available on Game Pass can also be purchases on Steam with large discounts. You also get the excellent feature set and functionality that Steam has to offer. When Microsoft makes Game Pass on PC comparable to what is found on Xbox consoles, then you should consider subscribing.
Just keep in mind that games from Ubisoft, Activision, and other large third-party studios won’t be available on the service, at least at launch. Meaning you will be paying $180 for the year, plus $60 dollars for new releases from other studios.
If you are someone who works through games slowly and only has an interest in a couple of titles at a time, you may choose to skip the subscription in favor of waiting for discounts. Most new releases will see sale prices of $30 to $40 around 6 months to a year after launch.