Microsoft may be killing off this amazing Xbox Game Pass deal (Update)

Xbox Game Pass at Gamescom 2022
(Image credit: Jez Corden | Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft's pay-monthly subscription service offering hundreds of games and access to Xbox cloud streaming.
  • Since it launched in 2017, new users were offered a month for just $1. 
  • Over the weekend, users began to notice that the promo offering seems to have come to an end. 

Update (March 26, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. PT / 8:30 p.m. ET): Microsoft has responded to our request for comment and confirmation, providing the following statement:

"We have stopped our previous introductory offer for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PC Game Pass and are evaluating different marketing promotions for new members in the future.”

Our original story is below.

It may be the end of an era, as Microsoft calls time on Xbox Game Pass' famous $1 promo period. 

Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft's pioneering Netflix-like subscription service, offering hundreds of games for a comparatively low monthly fee. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on multiple full-priced AAA titles, Xbox Game Pass spreads the cost from just $10 per month, and at higher tiers, even comes with Xbox cloud streaming access for gaming on the go. 

Since Xbox Game Pass launched, new users were offered a month for just $1 to try out the service, but over the weekend, users started to notice (via that the long-time promotional pricing seems to be gone. 

(Image credit: | Windows Central)

Attempting to sign up to Xbox Game Pass using a fresh Microsoft account no longer offers you access for $1. Instead, it links straight to the three existing tiers, either $10 per month for Xbox Game Pass on console, $10 per month for Xbox Game Pass on PC, or $15 per month for access to both and Xbox Cloud Gaming. From what we can tell the change seems to be global, with no mention of the $1 promo tier appearing in any country we've tested out. 

It makes sense that Microsoft would begin winding down this promotion, as the user acquisition phase is likely coming to an end. Enough people probably know about Xbox Game Pass at this point for growth to occur organically, particularly so when you factor in the volume of upcoming Xbox games hitting the service. Microsoft may also want to avoid a situation where thousands sign up for temporary one-month throwaway accounts to avoid having to pay for upcoming highly expected titles like Starfield. Starfield is among the most anticipated games of recent memory, built by the team behind megahits like Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Microsoft is also expecting to close its deal for Activision-Blizzard, which will lead to major games like Call of Duty and Diablo IV also hitting the service. Avoiding a scenario where tens of thousands sign up to temporary accounts for just $1 is probably a high priority for the team. 

We've reached out to Microsoft to get hard confirmation as to whether or not this is in error, but I'd suspect that the firm has called time on the promo, as the service has matured. Microsoft is also slowly rolling out Xbox Game Pass for Families and Friends, offering up to five Xbox Game Pass Ultimate accounts for around $25. As such, access to Xbox Game Pass will potentially be cheaper than ever. 

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!