Do you buy games that are on Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass (Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

Xbox Game Pass takes the current era of digital renter-ship to its logical extreme. When you "buy" a game these days, what you're often doing is purchasing a license to rent a copy in perpetuity. In other words, the difference between buying and borrowing is smaller than ever. This spawns a question: Do you bother purchasing titles that are on Game Pass, either after or during their time on Microsoft's service, or do you simply enjoy your temporary access while it lasts?

There are incentives to "buying" a game outright even if it's on Game Pass. For example, the Game Pass versions typically don't include all the DLC, so you have to pay for those separately even if you're getting the base game from your subscription. At which point, some people opt to just buy the complete edition outright. And then there are weird cases like CrossfireX, wherein you get a piece of the game via Game Pass as a sort of super-enhanced demo but have to buy the title if you want more. The point is, even with Microsoft's service's impressive value proposition, there are still reasons to pay for games the old-school way.

According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Game Pass subscribers are big spenders. "Game Pass is growing rapidly and it's transforming how people discover, connect and play games," he said during the company's FY21 Q4 earnings call. "Subscribers play approximately 40% more games and spend 50% more than non-members."

Based on that quote, we can surmise that Game Pass users are, indeed, forking over the cash. The question is: Are you? Or do you enjoy the best Xbox Game Pass games while they're on the service for no additional fee beyond your base subscription cost, then move on?

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to

  • Yes, but I don't have the game pass
    Though, for some games, I hesitated to take the pass instead
  • Bought a few games that are on gamepass. But two of them I'd already pre ordered before I knew they were coming to GP. Did buy halo infinate, but thy was for my physical collection of all halo games.
    Since the launch of gamepass my buying habits have gone from many games a year to only 3 or 4.
  • For me, it is mixed. Some titles (like Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Horizon 5), I purchased the game to play early (which usually not recommend, but I knew what I am getting, so, it worth the premium for me). In some cases, like FH5, I paid only DLC (Premium Add-on Bundle). In other cases, like Yakuza 0 and Kiwami 1-2, I purchased them before they leave the Game Pass for discounts. Others, I tend to use the subscription to play those games, like Hellblade, Grounded, and A Plague Tale: Innocence. The service did save my money for the titles that I never played before.
  • Only buy if I cannot finish it before leaving game pass.
  • I think many of us are like this, but there was no option that represents this closely enough. I sometimes buy games that are not on Game Pass, and sometimes I buy games that leave Game Pass. I never buy games that are in Game Pass, except for the few that I really wanted to play anyways when they are leaving. I do buy DLC/season passes though for games I enjoy.
  • I will buy every single game that I like, so that makes Game Pass an incredible opportunity for Dev’s/Publishers to make money off me, including from games I’m not familiar with……..but so far and massively disappointingly I’ve only bought a couple of games from Game Pass - that I wasn’t going to buy already. And those are Supraland, Horizon 5 early access - with that game being a diminished in quality due to its Increase in size….and I’m waiting for a Subliminal 60FPS patch. Massively overrated games; like the repetitive simplistic gameplay grind of Hades and the like are not worthwhile, but I’m glad I got to try them.
    I’ve bought Halo Master chief collection 4 times but I will never touch halo infinite or pay 1c for that “game” ever again. I’ve spent over 2 decades refusing to buy hardly any new games because I don’t get the try them early, so game pass is a godsend…….except for the current low quality. I demand quality/fun.
  • If I like it, I buy it. Why waste a perfectly good discount?
  • I bought a game a few months after it left Game Pass. I was angry and upset that the game left Game Pass and after a few months, I was wanting to get that game and finally when it was on sale in the Microsoft Store on Xbox, I bought it. But only if it's really a good game that I would buy it.
  • I rarely spend my own money on games anymore. I use the gift cards I get from Microsoft rewards and gamepass quests. I get around $15-20 a month then use that to purchase games on sale.
  • Uhh... Unless you count points earned by buying through Xbox digital store, it's possible to earn max 10K points per month per account -- but it costs about 15-17k points for 15-17 dollars (in Canada), which is what the GP Ult monthly sub reward converts to.
  • You also get daily points for using Bing, daily polls, and they hide bonus points that can be found monthly. Plus the 2500 every ten weeks for doing the weekly reward set. It adds up pretty quickly. There are also play to win games that can win points In the US its 14k points for $15. Last time I redeemed $10 and 25 entries to a sweepstakes for 10300 on 1/22 which dropped me down to 200 points. I'm already back up to 11500 points.
  • Yeah you're doing it wrong. I earn about 18-20k pts a month. It costs 36k pts for 3 months game pass ultimate subscription, 46k pts for $50 gift card. I earn two 3 month subs and a $50 dollar card every 6 months... so free game pass and $100 in cards each year. That's not buying anything, just doing all the quests on xbox and doing microsoft rewards on Bing/Edge for 5 minutes each day.
  • I intend to subscribe in perpetuity, there's no reason not to unless I decide to forgo the hobby. I have bought many 3rd party games which I ended up loving and know I'll want to replay one day, or had DLC I wanted. Outer Wilds and Control most recently.
  • Mostly bought discounted games not on XGP, using reward points earned by playing XGP games. One bundle (MK11 ult + Inj 2 LE) I got during its launch period for just a tad bit more than what it costs on sale these days. That was about 6+ months before MK11 base game got on GP. (That was a solid game to add, btw).
  • I've bought a few on discount as they're leaving, like FF7, just to have them. Sometimes I'll buy dlc, if it's a first party game. Like replaying Fallout New Vegas after the acquisition, I had never played the dlc, so bought them all. Bought a couple before they were added. And a few that aren't on the service each year. I spend very little time reading or watching, almost all my entertainment hours are spent playing games, and 90% of those games are from game pass. Last month I did the Mass Effect LE marathon. This month, Hitman.
  • No...
    Sony's inferior services make purchases necessary on the PS5 but Game Pass is so good that I never need to buy ANY games on Xbox.
    I know many people who do buy games as they are leaving Game Pass but that's usually due to poor planning / prioritisation.
  • I want physical copies of games. I still play PS1 and PS2 games to this very day. I buy from GoG solely because I can buy the game digitally and have zero DRM included, meaning I can play it and keep it forever, even without internet.
  • Nope. In fact due to gamepass I stopped buying games altogether for the most part on my Xbox and just use gamepass for $1 each month.
  • Yeah, I buy games I discover through game pass if I like them a lot. Even with games I managed to finish while on the service, I usually buy them out of honor. After all, I played and completed a game I really liked without paying extra for it, it's only fair towards the devs, especially with indies. Incidentally I once asked a dev about the benefits for them of us buying a game pass game from the Windows Store or Steam. He said it was the same. So if you prefer to buy a game on Steam that you discovered on Game Pass, it's not like you're harming the service, because you did discover the game there anyway.
  • I'd only buy it if I want it on my Switch (something like Hades). Other than that, it stays on Game Pass. Maybe down the road once I get the Steam Deck I might buy it on Steam if I really like the game.
  • Buying DLC for a game you don't own seems absolutely ridiculous to me. Can't believe people actually do that.
  • It's definitely a curious choice.