Xbox Game Pass Ultimate needs a family plan, because it's 2020

Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass (Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

Source: Windows Central Xbox Game Pass is now 10-million subscribers strong, and growing. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Xbox Game Pass is undoubtedly a great service, providing access to hundreds of games on a monthly fee. It's often called the "Netflix of gaming," owing to the way Microsoft is pumping it full of great third, and first-party content, with recent titles like Gears Tactics and Minecraft Dungeons hitting the service.

HOWEVER. There's one big glaring flaw in this whole gig, and one particular flaw with the direct comparisons to Netflix. Netflix can be enjoyed by a large family on a single plan, Xbox Game Pass ... can't.

Several kids requires several subscriptions

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

I'm not suggesting that Microsoft should just let several people have access to Xbox Game Pass without having to pay extra, but Netflix has a plan that lets you have more concurrent streams at once on a single payment. Beyond the cost, it's just a case of convenience. To achieve similar with Xbox Game Pass (and Xbox Live Gold for that matter) you have to either be signed into your child's console, or have a separate subscription.

If you have a few kids who are Xbox gamers, to work through that effectively, you'd have to buy each a separate subscription, or hop around signing into their consoles when one wanted to use the service. It's either inconvenient or inconveniently pricey.

An easy fix, surely

Source: Microsoft Microsoft's emphasis on family features should extend to Xbox Game Pass too. (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft could pretty easily fix this by following the Netflix model, allowing parents to sign in to a separate Xbox Game Pass app on each family member's console, independent of their full-blown Xbox Live console login details. Not only would this be far more convenient to move a single subscription around different consoles, but it also opens up the opportunity to have a "Family Pass" access, similar to what Microsoft does with Microsoft 365's family plan.

With Microsoft 365 for Families, six people get access to Office and OneDrive, manageable via the Family Center on your Microsoft Account.

Given that Microsoft places a big emphasis on familial gaming, with its recent Parent's App for Xbox and some of the more robust parental controls between the big three, it just seems odd that they haven't extended that courtesy to Xbox Game Pass, or even Xbox Live Gold, which again, requires multiple subscriptions in a single household. The whole system feels archaic at best, and price-gouging at worst.

Let's get an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Family Plan!

There's no real reason Microsoft wouldn't benefit from at least allowing Xbox gaming parents to manage their families into a single subscription, without having to jump through the various hoops of running multiple rolling subscriptions simultaneously. It would encourage more people into the service too, undoubtedly, since the value and convenience would be far better than what Microsoft expects families to do as of writing.

What do you think? Are you rolling multiple Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass subscriptions for your family? Let us know in the comments.

Xbox Game Pass


Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at 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 tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!