Xbox and PC Game Pass FAQ: Price, features, Ultimate, Core, Cloud, and everything you need to know

Xbox Game Pass at Gamescom
(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft's Game Pass service has been upending the gaming industry in recent years, with competitors emulating the service at every opportunity. However, the original is still by far the best. Hundreds of games, the promise of day one Xbox exclusives from franchises like DOOM, Elder Scrolls, Halo, and Forza, cloud gaming, discounts, and much, much more.

In this huge Xbox and PC Game Pass FAQ, we'll breakdown how much everything will cost, the features per plan, and some hints about what the future of the service might look like. 


Xbox / PC Game Pass

Microsoft's Netflix-style subscription service serves a huge library of varied titles for a monthly fee. From hit franchises to experimental indies, Xbox Game Pass has value for all.

Buy from: Amazon

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.

Xbox Game Pass incorporates hundreds of games, with different libraries available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles, Windows PCs, and cloud-based streaming games via the web, and via touch or Bluetooth controllers on Android from the Xbox Game Pass app. 

While subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, you get access to all of these games as if you have full license entitlement. Players on your Xbox can also access the same titles, as long as you're signed into your account. It makes it a great way to share a large library of games with your family at home. 

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.

Xbox Game Pass plans and costs

Given current inflation trends, it might be a good idea to stock up to two years' worth of Xbox Game Pass before Microsoft raises prices, although there's no official indication they'll do this, many other services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix have seen price increases. The price breakdown is as follows. 

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Xbox Game Pass Plans break down
FeaturesXbox Game Pass CoreXbox Game PassPC Game PassXbox Game Pass Ultimate
Games36 Xbox gamesOver 300+ Xbox gamesOver 300+ PC gamesOver 300+ PC games, 300+ Xbox console games, 200+ Xbox cloud games
CompatibilityXbox One, Xbox Series X|SXbox One, Xbox Series X|SWindows 10 PC, Windows 11 PCXbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows 10 PC, Windows 11 PC, Android, modern web browsers like Edge, Safari, and Chrome
Additional featuresXbox console network multiplayer, discountsXbox console network multiplayer, discountsDiscountsUltimate "perks," EA Play access, Xbox network multiplayer, discounts, cloud gaming access
Price$10 per month / $60 per year$11 per month$10 per month$17 per month

Xbox Game Pass costs $9.99 a month, although its all-inclusive Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier pushes up to $16.99 a month. In some locations, you can buy codes for multiple months in one go, often with promotions and discounts to consider. The new Xbox Game Pass Core costs $9.99 month, but comes with a discount if you buy a year, at $59.99 generally. 

Xbox Game Pass for consoles gives you hundreds of games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles for $10.99. There's also PC Game Pass which gives you a similar number of games for $9.99 too. You can also nab Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which gives you Xbox Game Pass for consoles, for PC, on cloud streaming, and also bundles in Xbox network console multiplayer, for $16.99 a month. 

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also bundles in EA Play, which includes a library of games from EA's back catalog. EA Play also includes 10 hour "trials" to its latest games, which is a nice benefit too. Ultimate also has "perks," which include free gifts and trials for things like Disney+ or Discord Nitro. It's a very good deal, honestly. 

There are also rumors that Microsoft is working on a free tier of Xbox Game Pass, which would reward users with game time in exchange for watching ads. 

What about an Xbox Game Pass family plan?

We exclusively reported that an Xbox Game Pass Family Plan is indeed on the way, subject to negotiations with Microsoft's publisher partners. And now, Microsoft has confirmed it. Initially, the Family Plan was tested in Ireland and Colombia, before being phased out for a rethink, of sorts. In an exclusive interview with us, Xbox lead Phil Spencer confirmed that the Family Plan will return in the future, although the timeline remains vague. We'll be sure to update you when we know more. 

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. Overall, there's well over 300 games in the service, depending on whether you're on Xbox, PC, or cloud, as the libraries vary slightly across platforms. 

Additionally, every new Microsoft first-party title will be added into Game Pass at launch. This includes recent games like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, and Starfield, as well as upcoming titles like Marvel's Blade

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.

The complete list of Xbox Game Pass titles is here, and we update it every month with the latest titles. 

What's the deal with Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Core?

Previously, Microsoft's multiplayer subscription service was called Xbox Live Gold, which at $10 a month or $60 per year gave you access to multiplayer titles in premium games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, etc. However, you can now play free-to-play multiplayer games without paying for a subscription. 

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which costs $15 per month includes Xbox multiplayer as standard. Microsoft also debuted Xbox Game Pass Core in 2023, which replaces Xbox Live Gold. The service costs the same as Xbox Live Gold, but also includes a smaller library of Xbox Game Pass titles to give you a taster. 

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 PCs?

It is! There 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.

You can play games on any version of Windows via a modern browser on the Xbox website or natively via the Xbox app from the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 and 11. 

The best thing about Xbox Game Pass Ultimate with Xbox and PC Game Pass is that it includes cloud saves gratis, and for games that are on both Xbox and console, it includes Xbox Play Anywhere progress save syncing. Start Monster Hunter Rise or Forza Motorsport on Xbox, and pick it up afterwards on your ASUS ROG Ally or gaming PC. 

Are Xbox 360 titles included?

The catalog has a good selection of Xbox 360 games that also work on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles. It also now even includes original Xbox games too from back in the day. 

Here's the full list of backward-compatible Xbox games

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) if you want to buy-to-own before the game leaves the service. 

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. You can purchase the games to own, though, with an included discount. 

Note: You won't lose your save games even if you cancel. 

What are Xbox Game Pass' supported countries?

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.

What is Xbox Cloud Gaming?

From Sept. 15, 2020, Microsoft's Xbox 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 at on Microsoft Edge, 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, Scarlet Nexus, Dead Cells, and various others. 

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.

And that's a wrap! 

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.


Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft's Netflix-style subscription service serves a huge library of varied titles for a monthly fee. From hit franchises to experimental indies, Xbox Game Pass has value for all.

Buy from: Amazon

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!

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