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Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Everything you need to know

Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass (Image credit: Windows Central)

Announced back in 2019, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate program is Microsoft's latest evolution of its popular service. One of the big requests from subscribers was a single program to combine subscriptions for Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold, and that's exactly what you get with Game Pass Ultimate.

Oh. and it comes with a little sprinkling of something for PC and mobile gamers bundled in for good measure. Here's everything you need to know about Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

What exactly is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

Game Pass Comparisons

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the combination of two current programs: Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold. Subscribers to Ultimate will have access to both for one monthly subscription cost instead of two separate ones. Additionally, the newer Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription is also included with Game Pass Ultimate.

Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft's subscription service that offers complete access to a huge library of games covering both Xbox Series X/S and backward-compatible titles. You can download these to your console to play in full for as long as you're a paying subscriber or the games in question remain in the Game Pass library.

Better yet, if a Game Pass title also supports Xbox Play Anywhere, you get access to play those on your PC, as well, as part of your subscription, even if you don't have Game Pass Ultimate.

The PC-specific Game Pass subscription has its own list of games, some of which cross over with the console program on account of Xbox Play Anywhere. But many are exclusive to PC, such as Age of Empires and Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Complete list of Xbox Game Pass PC games

If you choose to buy any game you play in Game Pass Ultimate, you'll get a 10% discount on it while you're a member.

Source: Microsoft

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Xbox Live Gold provides you with a number of perks. The first is access to online multiplayer in any Xbox One game, so if you want to play with friends you need Gold. More than that, though, Gold gives you four free games every month, two Xbox One titles and two older games from Xbox and Xbox 360 that are backward compatible and are yours to keep.

Gold subscribers also get exclusive discounts every single week on games from the Microsoft Store, as well as additional discounts during special promotional periods.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate provides access to all of this under one easy-to-manage subscription.

How much does Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cost?

Current pricing for the U.S. is $14.99 a month, but regional pricing may vary. As a special bonus, new subscribers can sign up and get their first month for only $1.

When does Xbox Game Pass Ultimate launch?

It's available right now! After an early access program for Xbox Insiders, Microsoft officially started letting anyone sign up from June 9, 2019.

Xbox Game Pass for PC is also now part of Game Pass Ultimate.

Where is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate available?

Game Pass Games

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is available in all current Xbox Game Pass markets:

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 United States.

So, how do you get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

Really easy. Simply visit the Microsoft Store from the account you wish to link to Game Pass Ultimate and buy a subscription.

Do you need to cancel Xbox Game Pass or Live Gold to get Ultimate?

When you sign up to Ultimate, any other current subscriptions are migrated across and automatically canceled for you.

What happens if you have prepaid subscriptions on your account already?

Game Pass Ultimate Code Conversions

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Any pre-paid codes will be automatically converted to Game Pass Ultimate subscription time based on the chart above.

More information can be found on the Xbox Game Pass FAQ page.

Xbox Cloud Gaming from September 2020

GameSir X2

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Microsoft's cloud game streaming platform formerly known as Project xCloud is an official product as of September 2020, and is part of the increasingly attractive Game Pass Ultimate package.

The library of games has shrunk somewhat from that which was offered during the testing period, but there are still some of Microsoft's finest in there for launch along with some top titles from third-party publishers. Most recently, titles brought in-house with Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda have joined the game streaming ranks.

Cloud Gaming is part of the main Game Pass app for Android, while on iOS, Mac, Chrome OS, and Linux, Xbox Cloud Gaming is available through the browser.

EA Play on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Microsoft and EA have been close for a long time now, with EA Access (the former name of EA Play) once exclusive on Xbox One. While the exclusivity is no more, what's about to happen is something nobody expected.

EA Play, a subscription service on its own that allows access to a selection of EA's vast back catalog of games, will become part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC.

So with one single subscription to Game Pass Ultimate, you'll not only have access to the Game Pass Library on both console and PC and Cloud Gaming, but soon EA's subscription service, too.

If you didn't already think that Game Pass Ultimate is the best value package in gaming, this pretty much seals it.

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.