Is Xbox Game Pass right for you? Here are the pros and cons

Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass (Image credit: Microsoft)

Over the last few weeks, Microsoft has heavily advertised the the Xbox Games Pass service, which allows players to pay a flat fee of $9.99 a month and get access to over 100 games on the Xbox library.

On paper, it sounds like a fantastic deal, but there are some reasons that you might want to wait on the service or even avoid it entirely. Here are the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

The Good

The good things about Xbox Game pass are easy for anyone to see. Provided that you have the time and storage space on your hard drive, you can download a plethora of Xbox games, both 360 and One titles, and play them at your leisure. There's no catch — just you, your controller, and a whole lot of gaming.

If you're a person who loves offline singleplayer titles, then you're the type of player who will get maximum value out of the Game Pass. Since you won't be needing the ability to connect to multiplayer servers, you can skip paying for Xbox LIVE and get your hands on a wide collection of the games you like for hardly any money at all, compared to what you would pay by buying each one individually. Of course, multiplayer fans save a bunch too, though will still need to separately get Xbox LIVE.

A huge plus to the Game Pass is that every Xbox exclusive title will be permanently a part of the service moving forward. This is where the ten dollar price tag of the Pass looks truly magnificent, as you'll be getting unlimited access to several $60 priced games for only a sixth of the price of one of them per month.

Lastly, the way the Game Pass installs games on your hard drive instead of streaming them to your console over the internet can be advantageous for players with slow internet connections, although this system does have some caveats (which I will cover in the next section).

The Bad

Though the service will be great for most people, Game Pass does look weaker in some situations. If you're a gamer who doesn't have much time to game, then you won't have the ability to take advantage of the huge library the service offers. If it also takes you several months to beat very long games, such as open world games, then you might be better off finding that game used as opposed to paying $10 every month.

Another type of player that won't find much value in this service are ones that tend to stick with a single game long term and play it for several months or even a year or two. Even the one time payment of $60 for a triple-A title will ultimately cost less than the $120 you'll need to use Game Pass for a year.

Finally, there's the games available themselves. The Game Pass library is also mostly filled with Xbox 360 games. That's not to say that newer Xbox One titles aren't available, because there's currently a good amount of them, too. However, you may want to wait for a few months and see what games come to the service down the line. Check out our list on every game on the Game Pass.

Is it for you?

Do you think Xbox Game Pass is right for you? Let me know why or why not. If you're undecided, you can give the service a shot by getting the 14 day free trial here (opens in new tab). At the very least, you'll get to play some free games for two weeks!

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • I have it but honestly haven't played many of the games since I have a backlog of other titles to play. I typically fulfill the monthly quest. And that's it. I am looking forward to Sway of Thieves in there.
  • The monthly quest is good. The service has a free 14 day trial, so that is good. Has around 78 Xbox one titles, so a decent amount. Worth a month for Defence Grid 2, Sky Force, Halo 2.
  • I'm waiting for the exclusive to come.I use the trial period to finish Guakamelle, Gears 4 and another game that I don't remember the name.
  • Going to subscribe once they put sea of thieves in it. That will hold me over until they release they next few exclusive games and will be worth my $.
  • Another case, if you are into paid DLC a lot, probably you want to buy the game instead of using the pass.
  • As soon as there are some interesting games buy it for one month and after that cancel it. Repeat it whenever they have a bunch of interesting games, especially single player games you only play once.
  • This service will grow and grow. For example the rumour about EA being bought isn't foe the reasons everyone thinks it is. It's to bolster out he Game Pass service. To make it irresistable. Netflix went through the same thing. And Disney are doing the exact same thing buying out FOX. It's purely for the service side. Which in the long run holds far more weight Gamers on the internet only think about sales numbers and exclusives. But are not seeing the real picture. MS is getting ahead in the monthly service situation. The same way Netflix against all odds and people saying no one wants it now is worth $100 billion. More than Youtube, HBO, Sky and Virgin. Services are already here. They are not the future. They are the now. And the only reason games hasn't taken off yet is because no one has made it attractive. Watch this space. That's why MS have not released sales numbers for 8 years. Instead announcing Active Monthly Xbox Live users.
  • Your post is based on a rumour that's unlikely to even happen. LOL Oh and You're lying when you're saying MS haven't released a number in 8 years. They actually stopped doing it quite early in THIS generation. And that's probably because they just could not compete with the competition's numbers. They never talk of the number of gold subscibers but talk of "active user" by adding people who connected on xbox live on Win10 and mobile...  MS is all about service. And for me that's not great for gaming...
  • Still, MAU or AU, still generates $$. Forza7 has 5m MAU and e-sports (so does Halo and GoW). I brought up this during our section meeting, it means many things in the gaming business.
  • I actually agree. When MS sees user they see $$. That's probably why they are full on that game as a service bs. 
    That's why they are doing all that microtransactions, lootbox, countless sponsored DLC's/VIP or other bs passes, multiple different versions and "Pay money or you'll get the game late"... It's not just about selling a product and hoping the customer is happy. It's about selling a game then keep trying to get money from them... LOL
  • I would like to ask what do MS do with lootboxes and Micros and dlc that is bad? I own every MS exclusive this gen. So can answer any questions you may have. 
  • Bad? Microtransactions/lootbox is the strategy used by free2play mobile phone games. Doing it in full price game is "bad". See, you just got to accept that MS's strategy is games as a service. It's about getting more and more from a customer who bought their product. Thats just the way it is...
  • actually no. MS stopped releasing numbers towards the end of the 360 generation. It's not something new to this generation. MS have been releasing monthly active users for Xbox Live numbers for a long time. Starting in the 360 days. When Sony used to release account numbers. Not active users. I mean at one point during the PS3 generation Sony was announcing over 100 million PSN users. When it wasn't active users. Just amount of accounts created. multiples included.  MS latest Xbox revenue report shows again sales numbers mean absolutely nothing to the business. Sure getting more Xbox into peoples hands will increase revenue through more Live Gold and Game Pass subscriptions. But MS turning to PC also has increased their stake hold in the entire video game market. unlike online sales fanboys no one cares where they play their MS games. PC or Console. We are given the choice. And that's absolutely brilliant. Want to play a MS game on PC instead of Console? Great. MS gets the consumers money and the gamer is playing a MS product. Want to play MS games on a console? Same thing. MS wins again.  The age old argument of x console sells more than y doesn't work in todays climate. Certainly not from a business standpoint. Whether a few thousand gamers on forums care for gaming a service doesn't matter in grand scheme of things. Heck People online complain about not buying Digital films or using subscription services like Netflix. Still today. But that doesn't stop services ruling the roost. I'm not saying EA will be bought out. But don't think an acquisition of that size is for some sort of exclusive war with Sony to sell a few more consoles. The picture is much much bigger than that. And MS have made that very clear with their recent announcement to do with Game Pass.        
  • Oh boy when will you stop lying???
    Even though at this stage I wonder whether you're actually lying or you're just clueless...
    I guess a bit of both... Here is when they said they'll stop communicating on sales numbers but on usership: October 2015 This was when MS was still announcing sales numbers in january 2015. So much for your bs... I would say the XB live user will make even less sense than actual sales numbers and that's because when a non-gamer opens solitaire on his Win10 PC he is counted as a active user. But he is unlikely to buy Gears. Those who buy a console are buying it probably to play games. That's where it makes more sense. Still talking about Netflix? You're comparing a movies-series renting service to a video gaming service. Not the same thing. How many movies and series can you and people in your family watch per month? Loads...
    How many games can you play? Hardly 2-3 max?
    For me, game pass is packed with old games that most players already own through GWG or they bought.
    Including 2-4 MS games only caters to 1) XB fans who would have bought all the games and 2) people who don't mind renting games.
  • Pros
    It's a good option. But it should ONLY remain an option. Personally I don't want the future of gaming to be a renting service. I don't want companies to tell me what games I should play. If people are into MS's exclusives and don't mind renting games they should give it a try.
    Play the game 1-2 months then end the subscription until the next game you're interested in. Most gamers here have probably been gold or PS+ members since at least 2013. So that's roughly almost 200 GWG and 350 PS+ games. Do you really need to pay 120 bucks/year after spending 60 just to rent fewer games?  And even if you hardly have any games we are talking about renting games. This is not like Netflix. 
    How many movies and series can you and people in your family watch per month? Loads...
    How many games can you play? Hardly 2-3 max if you play a lot. Almost all of those aren't worth the 10 bucks you're paying to rent the game. And it's better value to buy and own the games. Cons of this service:
    If this is the future of gaming.
    The focus would be amount of content and number of games rather than quality of games. Look at Xbox game pass. It's about the "more than 100 games" not the fact that most are really old games... Not only that. This is renting service. It's killing the notion of owning a game. 
    Also I don't know if this is a way to reduce the pressure into making games. I mean look at valve as a video game maker these days. 
    Are MS looking to do the same? Make 2-3 sequels a year and just let 3rd party provide content for their renting service? I can imagine how companies will fill their libraries with a lot of bs games and the priority will no longer be about trying to make a "great" game for the players... Oh and that's not even talking of the possible future "Xbox pass exclusive content"...