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Xbox Game Pass: Price, features, and everything you need to know

Xbox Game Pass at Gamescom 2018
(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft's Game Pass is a subscription-based service that opens up a whole library of games. It launched in mid-2017 and is available to anyone across web browsers, Android phones, PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S consoles.

Microsoft is pushing Game Pass hard, and it's going to be a very important service for Xbox going forward, both on console and on PC. Here's everything you need to know.

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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 (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab). 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.

How much does it cost?

Xbox Game Pass costs $9.99 a month, although its all-inclusive Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier pushes up to $14.99 a month. In some locations, you can buy codes for multiple months in one go, often with promotions and discounts to consider.

Xbox Game Pass for consoles gives you hundreds of games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles for $9.99. 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 Live Gold for console multiplayer, for $15 a month. 

Given global inflation as of 2022, 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. 

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. 

The Xbox Game Pass Family Plan includes Game Pass Ultimate, and allows 5 users to gain full access to all XGPU benefits for around $25. Right now, the Xbox Game Pass Family Plan is only available in Ireland and Colombia, but it will doubtless roll out to more territories in the coming weeks and months ahead. 

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.

Additionally, every new Microsoft first-party title will be added into Game Pass at launch. This includes recent big hitters like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 and forthcoming titles like Starfield.

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. 

Do I need to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription?

No, Xbox Game Pass is a completely separate subscription program. Xbox Live Gold is required to access multiplayer games on Xbox consoles, although free-to-play Xbox games no longer require Xbox Live Gold. 

Xbox Live Gold is included in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, however, arguably making it the best value option. 

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's now 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 (opens in new tab) or natively via the Xbox app from the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 and 11. 

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).

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.

Where can I get Xbox Game Pass?

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 xbox.com/play 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 and Dead Cells.

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.

(opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab)

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

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