Microsoft's Game Pass is a subscription-based service that opens up a whole library of games. It launched in mid-2017 and is available to anyone, regardless of whether they're a Gold subscriber or not.
Microsoft is pushing Game Pass hard, and it's going to be a very important service for Xbox going forward, both on console and on PC. Here's everything you need to know.
What is Xbox Game Pass?
Game Pass is a subscription service that gives Xbox gamers access to a library of games to download and play for as long as they continue to pay for the service. A similar example would be EA Play, except Game Pass isn't exclusive to one publisher.
How much does it cost?
Xbox Game Pass costs $9.99 a month, although its all-inclusive Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier pushes up to $14.99 a month. In some locations, you can buy codes for multiple months in one go, often with promotions and discounts to consider.
Does it replace Xbox Live Games with Gold?
No. Game Pass is a completely separate service from Games with Gold and operates alongside it. If you want to enjoy multiplayer games, however, you will still need to have a Gold subscription to do that.
How do I get Xbox Game Pass?
You can sign up on the console or on the Microsoft website.
Once you're subscribed, you can manage your subscription from your console, too. On the latest versions of the OS, Game Pass has its own tab inside "My games and apps" and games can be installed directly from here without needing to go to the store.
How many games are there?
At launch, there were over 100 games covering both Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward-compatible games in the catalog. Every month, new games are added, and it now even stretches to a selection of original Xbox backward-compatible titles. The best Xbox Game Pass games now include projects of all sizes and genres.
Additionally, every new Microsoft first-party title will be added into Game Pass at launch. This includes recent big hitters like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 and forthcoming titles like Starfield.
But just as games regularly enter the rotation, games also regularly leave Game Pass. Any non-Microsoft game will likely leave at some point, so you should treat it as such and play those you like the look of as soon as you can.
Do I need to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription?
No, Xbox Game Pass is a completely separate subscription program.
Are Xbox Play Anywhere games included?
Absolutely. With an Xbox Game Pass subscription, PC gamers are able to play Xbox Play Anywhere titles, such as Sea of Thieves, without purchase if they have a Game Pass subscription on their Xbox console.
Future first-party titles that are also Play Anywhere will also be included in the same way.
Is it available on Windows 10 and Windows 11?
It is! There's now also a dedicated PC Game Pass. It can be subscribed to on its own or as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes console, PC, and an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
On PC the easiest way to browse and manage Game Pass games is through the Xbox app, available on both Windows 10 and Windows 11.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?
The latest Game Pass product, which essentially represents the absolute best value, with a single $15 a month subscription covers Xbox Live Gold on your Xbox X/S or Xbox One, Game Pass games on console, Game Pass games on PC, and access to the xCloud game streaming service on mobile devices and PC.
Are backward-compatible Xbox 360 titles included in Game Pass?
The catalog has a good selection, and it now goes even further, including original Xbox games, too.
Will I get a discount to buy the games if I like them?
Yep. Game Pass subscribers will get an exclusive discount to buy the games and related downloadable content (DLC).
Will I be able to play if I stop my subscription?
Games are available to play, in full, for as long as you're a paying subscriber. If you cancel your subscription, you lose access to said games.
Where can I get Xbox Game Pass?
The full list of countries currently reads as such:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Xbox Game Streaming now part of Game Pass app on Android
From Sept. 15, 2020, Microsoft's cloud gaming service, known as xCloud previously, became part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and is built into the Xbox Game Pass app on Android. Folks on iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux can also take part, with Xbox Game Streaming available through the browser, or on Windows, now through the Xbox app.
It adds another tick in the value box to Game Pass Ultimate over regular Game Pass, too. Games are added to the cloud library on a slightly different schedule to console and PC, but regular additions are coming along.
Additionally, Microsoft has been working on dedicated touch controls for some of these games allowing you to play on your phone or tablet without the need for a controller. Minecraft Dungeons was the first, but the feature has since come to titles such as Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and Dead Cells.
How to save money on Xbox Game Pass
Just because Game Pass is a monthly subscription doesn't mean you can't save some money on it. You just have to know where to look.
Game Pass subscriptions can be bought and applied to your account by way of a code, which can be bought from a number of third-party retailers. One good place to keep an eye on is Amazon, where deals are fairly common, including such offers as buy one, get one free on three-month subscription codes which have been known in the past.
Another retailer to check out is CDKeys where you can always save some money, including on three-month subscription codes.
This hopefully answers some of the questions you have about Xbox Game Pass, and we'll keep this post updated as any new information becomes available.
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