Home What is Xbox Game Pass and much does it cost?

What is Xbox Game Pass and much does it cost?

Here’s everything you need to know about Microsoft’s subscription, Xbox Game Pass, from prices to selection.

If you’re an Xbox user, chances are you’ve seen talk about Xbox Game Pass. If you’re unsure what it entails, then look no further. With subscription services for virtually everything nowadays, Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s answer to a monthly gaming subscription. Here’s how it works.

What is Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service for Xbox One, Series X, or Series 3 console users, where gamers pay a monthly fee to get unlimited access to a catalog of selected games. You can play them as often or for as long as you like, likened to being a streaming-service-style offering, rather than buying individual games.

The Xbox Game Pass includes some tempting games, including major AAA titles like GTA V and Sunset Overdrive. It also leans into some hard-hitting nostalgia by regularly including old Xbox 360 titles, repurposed for modern consoles through backwards compatibility.

As well as offering the chance to play the Xbox Game Pass catalogue, the pass also offers access to new games on the day they’re released, for no extra cost.

How often is Xbox Game Pass updated?

Microsoft adds new games to the Xbox Game Pass each month, usually updated via the Xbox blog the week before. Some games will stay on the pass for one month but most stay longer than that. At any given time, there are usually around 300 games available to play.

How much is Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass has a few subscription levels to it, each one costing a different amount, ranging from $9.99 a month to $16.99. Microsoft also regularly offers deals for new subscribers, such as your first month for $1.

Here’s a closer look at what each plan offers subscribers.

Xbox Game Pass Core

Xbox Game Pass Core, once known as Xbox Live Gold, is the cheaper of the two options at $9.99. It offers a range of online multiplayer games, access to a collection of more than 25 titles, and member-only purchase deals on new releases.

Xbox Game Pass Core took over Xbox Live Gold memberships on September 14, 2023. Customers were automatically switched over from Gold to Core, with no need for them to do anything.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

For the slightly more expensive subscription option at $16.99 a month, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes all the same benefits as Xbox Game Pass Core, while also combining services for both PC and consoles, so you don’t need to have separate subscriptions to game on multiple devices.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate users also have access to the Xbox Game Pass mobile app, offering the ability to play on the go for Android users (although not yet for iPhone) and sync game data across multiple devices via the cloud.

Some games will also offer exclusive Ultimate perks, like extra add-ons, DLCs, and member discounts for updates and new releases that aren’t available to Core subscribers.

How does Xbox Game Pass work?

Once you have your subscription, it’s pretty easy to get online and start playing. Much like downloading a free game or one from the cloud, accessing Xbox Game Pass titles can be done via the library. Visit the Game Pass tab or the Recently added channel to see what’s available and then download it to your account.

Downloading the game means you won’t need to stream it (although that’s possible to do with many games), reducing lag and dips in video quality. For the next 30 days, Xbox Game Pass subscribers can play any downloaded games for free. After those 30 days, you’ll need to reconnect the game to the internet to verify for your subscription. So long as you’re still subscribed and the game is still included in the Game Pass, you won’t need to pay to continue playing the game and your history will be saved.

Where is Xbox Game Pass available?

The Xbox Game Pass is currently available in the following countries, with more planned to come:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • 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
  • The United States

On the whole, most Xbox Game Pass titles are the same around the world, with few differences between countries. Sometimes, the United States has had access to different games or with slightly different dates, but Microsoft tends to stick with the same offering around the world.

Featured image: Ideogram

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Rachael Davies
Tech Journalist

Rachael Davies has spent six years reporting on tech and entertainment, writing for publications like the Evening Standard, Huffington Post, Dazed, and more. From niche topics like the latest gaming mods to consumer-faced guides on the latest tech, she puts her MA in Convergent Journalism to work, following avenues guided by a variety of interests. As well as writing, she also has experience in editing as the UK Editor of The Mary Sue , as well as speaking on the important of SEO in journalism at the Student Press Association National Conference. You can find her full portfolio over on…

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