Xbox Game Pass is best for trying, not buying, according to Windows Central readers

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

What you need to know

  • We ran a poll asking readers whether they relied solely on their Game Pass subscription's core benefits or if they bought games and DLC off the service as well.
  • 49.66% of respondents voted that they play exclusively through Game Pass.
  • On the other hand, 37.1% of voters said they'll buy a game before or after it leaves the service.

Not everyone is keen on paying extra money on top of an existing subscription fee, even if there are benefits. That's why we asked readers what their spending habits were with Xbox Game Pass.

Out of a total of 3,550 votes, here are the findings of the poll entitled "Do you tend to buy games that are on Xbox Game Pass?"

  • 49.66% (1,763 votes) chose "no, I play exclusively through Game Pass."
  • 37.1% (1,317 votes) chose "yes, either before or after they leave Game Pass."
  • 13.24% (470 votes) chose "I only buy the DLC for Game Pass games."

So there you have it. Just about half of our readers stick with what Game Pass offers and leave it at that, saving their wallets in the process. Close to 40% are willing to buy a game before or after it leaves the service. And a little under 15% buy DLC for games they don't, in fact, own.

Some folks commented on the poll to mention that they only buy a game in the event they aren't able to finish it before it leaves the service. In other words, they're happy to play exclusively through Game Pass so long as time permits. Other commenters noted they like owning a permanent license or rewarding developers, so they buy games regardless of their GP status.

In short: The majority of voters will stick with their sub's perks for maximum cost effectiveness, but the best Xbox Game Pass games (or best PC Game Pass games, as the Windows side of the service has been rebranded) still compel a large percentage of people to spend additional cash.

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

  • If a game is rotating out of Game Pass and I really liked it, I tend to buy it even if I finished it because I want to support the devs.
  • Yep gamepass has completely taken over for me. I might buy the odd game that I really want to play (so far none have come to gamepass yet) but not very many. I went from buying at least 2-3 full priced games each month or more if a sale was going on or some good indies to just buying maybe 2-3 games every 6 months or more and instead just playing whatever gets added to gamepass. I have never purchased a game while it was on gamepass, nor have I purchased it before it was gone. I play mostly single player games so when I'm finished with a game I really don't see the point of buying it if I'm not going to play it again.
  • You're missing data to be able to make this claim. You need to also ask how frequently they purchased games prior to Game Pass and how frequently they purchase games now. For me in the past I used to only purchase a game every year or two and that's only slightly gone down since gamepass came around.
  • I can't say I do, I will probably by Control on some steam sale or something.
  • Of course there will be less people buying something if they are on a Subscription service. If you are paying money on a regular basis for a service, it kind of defeats the purpose of the service if you go purchase the same content you are already paying for in the first place. This is one of major reasons why I stay away from games/software as a service and streaming subscriptions.
    I buy either physical media -Blu-ray/cartridges or drm free purchase once digital software. If you are not using the service for which you are paying for every month, there is pressure to use it in order to get your money’s worth.
    Also there is the added pressure of having to purchase content you are already paying for in fear it will no longer be available - this is nothing new - Many games are dependent on company servers/services and eventually dropped support. There is also a concern about a Subscription Service Economics. Having multiple subscription and streaming services adds up becoming very expensive every month, one doesn’t end up owning any of the content and makes one less inclined to pay more for games/software/movies/tv shows etc… as goods. Xbx GP and other services seem like great “value” propositions initially, but so was the “Free” 2 Play model and unless one is a ‘whale’ we all know the real costs of that model was.
  • Honestly if half of players are already now playing through Game Pass, that's a pretty good result.
  • I think MS would take it if half of game pass subs are still spending money on top.