How Xbox Game Pass works on Xbox One

Xbox One S

Xbox One S and Xbox wireless controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

The release of Xbox Game Pass is a huge deal for both Microsoft and Xbox gamers. Along with EA Access, it's a serious differentiator between Xbox and the competition and will help players discover new games without committing to a cost.

Xbox Game Pass complete list of available games

Unlike Sony's subscription service, PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Pass allows you to download and install the games locally on your console, so you won't have to stream them from the cloud. It'll also offer a mix of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, an extra dose of awesome.

We fired it up to take a quick look.

Upon first getting started with Xbox Game Pass, all users are being offered a free 14-day trial to test out the service. To get going you'll need to manually enroll for the trial, which can be found by searching "Xbox Game Pass" in the Xbox Store. After setting up Xbox Game Pass, the subscription will be set to automatically renew unless canceled before the two-week period is up.

There's nothing to download and after completing the brief steps, you'll be ready to start gaming. Xbox Game Pass then shows up as an active membership under "My Games & apps," next to services such as Xbox Live Gold and EA Access.

As of right now, 112 titles are available via Xbox Game Pass, spanning both Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatibility. Going forward this catalog is set to continually change, with new titles arriving and leaving the service over time. The current catalog offers a range of genres, including both triple-A and indie games.

Installing games is very much like the EA Access model, except there's no dedicated app to see what's included. Game Pass is, as you'd expect, integrated directly into the Xbox Store. However, by navigating to the Xbox Game Pass section of the Store, you can sort titles based on some predefined categories.

Once you find a game you want to play, there's an install button as a part of the Store, or the option to buy a copy permanently attached to your account. Naturally, Game Pass games expire if you stop your subscription.

Overall, Xbox Game Pass in an interesting addition to the Xbox One's line-up and should be enticing for those new to the platform. Although a majority of the included games are relatively old, the sheer number titles mean there's potentially huge value behind this package.

What do you think of Xbox Game Pass? Are you planning to purchase your own subscription? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • I hope they eventually offer this on W10 as well.  For a few minutes at least the FAQ for this actually did say "Xbox One and Windows 10 devices."  MS has since updated the site.
  • 360 games wouldn't work (at least for now) on Windows 10, and it'd also be dependent on getting all the games into the desktop Store. Not a small task I imagine.
  • I hope they make 360 games run at least on their own devices (Pro, Book, Studio), especially on their rumored Surface Phone (xb360 handheld in the flesh!)
  • It would be seriously awesome, but it depends on hardware requirements. Good Emulation requires a decent amount of power compared to the system you're emulating.
  • and a bunch of licensing deals
  • Will there be a discount to buy the game if you like it?
  • According to Xbox Wire: In addition, all Xbox One games in the catalog – and related add-ons – will be available to purchase at an exclusive discount for Xbox Game Pass members, so you can make the games you love part of your permanent library to play whenever you want.
  • Just read this, too: "...Save an exclusive 20% on Xbox One game purchases and 10% on all related add-ons, but only while the base game is currently in the catalogue." This is a perfect plan, then! I'll be signing up. Keeps me from having to buy all these games only to get bored with it after a week or two. The price for a whole year ($10/month x 12 months = $120) costs the same as only 2 new games outright now.
  • I've been trying to weigh the cost out too. $120 is something that can get me in, as long as they have a good selection of games.
  • It would definitely need to be regularly updated and have a number of reasonably recent games (within the last 12 months), it's affordable but a lot more than EA Access but should have a wider range of games. Hope it doesn't make EA reconsider EA Access or anything.
  • I agree. I'm def going to follow this and see what they add. I mean as of right now, I'm currently in 'Game Limbo' Not really playing anything, waiting for something I want to release. This would be awesome to pick up something new to me, or even something pretty new in general (depending on how quick games get added)
  • You get 20% off games you choose to purchase. 
  • Be interested to know how long they remain available.
  • They're supposed to be refreshed every 30 days. 
  • someone who hates multiplayer, and considering how bad the offers on GwG have been for a while, I'm wondering if it's even worth it to continue having a Gold subscription...It's probably money better spent here. Besides, discounts on Gold aren't that good anyway (unless I wanted the 3563th copy of GTA V...) and this one will apparently also offer them...let's wait and see.
  • Is it confirmed that this is available to all users even if they don't have Gold? Hopefully for those who aren't interested in multiplayer. Bet it won't be long until Recore, GoW 4 and Forza Horizon 3 are on there. For anybody not bothered about playing every new game right away the service could be great
  • From everything I've read so far, they're separate services. So you don't need Gold to subscribe to this one.
  • Now I wonder if this will extend to Play Anywhere games allowing you to play them on W10, as well.
  • I'd be interested to see how new the games are that will be offered.
  • My biggest question as well. For $10/month I'd be willing to try every new game that pops up, as long as they aren't 2+ years old all the time.
  • a game that is 2 years old is not old to gamers. I buy games all the time that are old on steam why cause its cheap. they play just as good. if i haven't ever played the game, the game is new to me. it might be new to you if you havne't played it either @axmantim.  just a thought.
  • I agree there's nothing wrong with older games. I have quite a bit between humble bundles and steam sales. In my opinion though, if I'm paying a monthly fee for access to games, I want some of them to be on the newer side.
  • Found a few games I did not own , what I enjoy is being able to install without the normal fuss with buying,downloading etc ....
  • I really hope this becomes an app instead of store integration, I'll get it if it's an app.
  • What's the benefit of having this as an app vs store integration?
  • Much easier to find the content, I sometimes have difficulties finding titles through the store. This could be circumvented by having a link on the main store page to Game Pass, but it would be an extra step over just simply having an app that loads to the content like EA Access. Probably the best implementation would be to just add the games to your ready to install once you subscribe to the service, like EA Access does.
  • There is a shortcut to a page on the store that contains all the titles available that you can access from "Memberships" on My games & Apps, just like it says in the article.
  • Amazing
  • it can be a big deal who said it isn't. 
  • its exciting. will be watching this closely as all games are reviled. for now i own most of the titles. i will test the few i dont own. 
  • Do Xbox Subscribers that purchase Xbox Game Pass be able to play the games that they downloaded and Xbox Game Pass is not renewed or can only games that were purchased during the subscription only be able to be played.
  • You can only play while you pay. Like EA Access, the games won't work when you stop paying.
  • XBOX vs SONY the tech wars continue for ever.....💪
  • I hope Splinter Cell Conviction is in that group of games
  • Really great, unfortunately because of the way I play games and the limited nature of the subscription, I will have to...pass. 👀
  • I am guessing this is US based only? Am I correct?