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What is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

Xbox Game Pass at Gamescom 2018
Xbox Game Pass at Gamescom 2018 (Image credit: Matt Brown / Windows Central)

What is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

Best answer: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundles Xbox Game Pass for Xbox One and PC alongside Xbox Live Gold for $15 per month.The full package: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (opens in new tab) ($1/mo at Microsoft)

What does Xbox Game Pass Ultimate include?

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate debuts as Microsoft's new all-inclusive subscription for gaming, bundling leading Xbox subscriptions at a discounted rate. Comprised of three high-value memberships spanning Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs, it presents sizeable savings over purchasing each separately.

Xbox Game Pass for Xbox One proposes a Netflix-style service, packing over 100 standalone titles for a flat monthly fee. Its ever-rotating library has garnered deserved attention, with a diverse lineup of blockbusters and indies and new additions every month. Microsoft-published titles all permanently reside on the service too, covering Halo, Gears of War, and Forza titles at launch. While ideal to kickstart a library for new Xbox users, day-one inclusion of Microsoft flagships also presents value for veterans.

Unveiled at E3 2019 in June, Xbox Game Pass has also expanded to PC under a separate monthly subscription. Built on shared values to the Xbox One service, it packs over 100 games for Windows 10 PCs via the integrated Microsoft Store. Top Xbox franchises hit the PC service on launch day, alongside a worthy compilation of third-party properties. Extending to a new crowd of gamers, it's ideal for those who game on Microsoft's latest PC operating system.

The final piece of the puzzle is Xbox Live Gold, a premium tier subscription that unlocks the best of Xbox consoles. Online multiplayer is the main draw, alongside monthly free game offerings and exclusive weekly deals. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also richens the deal via exclusive bonuses, starting with Gears 5: Ultimate Edition and four-day early access in September 2019.

How much is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (Image credit: Xbox)

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate ties the subscriptions under a unified banner, pitched as the "ultimate" pick for Xbox gaming. This subscription comes in at $15 per month (opens in new tab), otherwise costing $30 when purchasing monthly subscriptions individually. Knocking 50 percent is an unmissable saving; even if using just two of the memberships.

The subscription has even further value at launch, with an introductory offer available in June 2019. Purchasing your first month costs just $1 from Microsoft (opens in new tab), with existing Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass memberships applied as free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tenure. For example, with three months of Xbox Live Gold and three months of Xbox Game Pass, you'll secure seven months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate today.

Third-party retailers also stock limited-time offers on prepaid codes, with Best Buy pledging three months for $20 (opens in new tab), down from $45. Once this opening period concludes, pricing will return to $15 per month for all.

Should I buy Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a subscription fit for a variety of Xbox One owners, bridging the console with Microsoft's ever-growing PC lineup. It stacks three valuable services under a discounted fee, unmatched by alternatives on the market. It's a natural expansion for those drawn to all three services, halving the price of purchasing each separately.

The subscription also proves valuable for just two subscriptions, undercutting a duo of separate services. Upgrading to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate as an Xbox One owner saves $5 on the two, with over 100 bonus PC games as a further bonus.

However, for PC owners grounded exclusively to Windows 10, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is best avoided in favor of the standalone PC alternative. Xbox Game Pass PC drops needless Xbox One benefits and passes on the best value at just $10 per month, with a $1 deal at launch. (opens in new tab)

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.