Microsoft first announced something called “Project xCloud”, which supposedly would explore streaming game titles on the Xbox consoles.
That soon turned into a feature and relabelled to the Xbox Game Pass.
But it’s a lot more than that!
If you’re not an Xbox Game Pass owner, then you’ve got to become one at some point. Why?
Well, the benefits you get from it are substantially better than those of Xbox Live Gold alone.
If you’re planning to get the latter, you might as well get the former.
Xbox Game Pass
What is Xbox Game Pass?
Those who have a PlayStation 5 will already be familiar with the PlayStation Now service; you use it to stream any last-gen game on your PS5, or any other non-PlayStation device that supports it.
The Xbox Game Pass is cut from the same cloth. It’s a service dedicated to giving you console games without you needing to buy them.
The catalog will consist of EA Play titles, Xbox games, and other new games!
Since it is a subscription-based service, you must reactivate your membership by paying a certain fee if you want to play the same games you had access to via the Xbox GPass Library or EA Play.
How Many Xbox Game Pass Games Are There?
You can download games on your Xbox Series X (or S) and play them for as long as it remains on the catalog.
With that said, the catalog goes through recycles, so new games will replace old games from time to time.
As of this article, there are over 100 games available on the Xbox Game Pass at launch.
Can I Use My Xbox Game Pass Library On My Phone?
You can stream the Game Pass games via any device that supports it, including any Android mobile phone and other Android mobile devices.
And that’s pretty much how Xbox Game Pass works at a base level!
Xbox Game Pass Offer
What Does the Xbox Game Pass Offer?
So, what does the Xbox Game Pass offer that Xbox Live Gold doesn’t?
Well, Game Pass members get to enjoy over 100 high-quality games in the current subscription cycle.
New games are added every cycle, whether it’s a month or a week.
But the palette is always going to change, so the catalog varies.
Early Access Games on the Xbox Game Pass Library
You can also avail of in-game content and partnership offers that you get to enjoy for some games, especially first-party titles.
Speaking of, if there are any Xbox Game Studios titles releasing, then Game Pass members get to play it via their Xbox GPass Library on the launch day!
That’s ridiculously cool.
It Offers Games from Previous Xbox Console Generations
Now, you could pop in any physical copy of a last-gen game you own and play them on your Xbox Series X console.
Alternatively, if you don’t have any, then you can stream them on your Xbox Series X via the Pass!
They offer games published all the way back since the 1st generation! This applies to select games only.
And since the games added can replace the others in a cycle, there’s no guarantee they’ll stick around for long either.
Nevertheless, it’s great news for anyone who wants to consolidate their gaming experience to a single Xbox console.
Xbox Game Pass Offers EA Play Membership
On top of that, you also obtain a free EA Access subscription as well.
This means that you can play games published by Electronic Arts via EA Play membership, a sneak peek of any upcoming EA title, exclusive rewards for any EA title you own, and members-only content related to EA until your subscription ends!
Is the Xbox Game Pass a replacement for the Xbox Live Gold membership?
No. BUT, it does offer Gold along with itself.
So it’s a 2-in-1 deal.
Though, if you get only Xbox Live Gold, then you won’t get the Game Pass.
You Get Xbox Game Pass Discounts
Xbox Game Pass members get exclusive discounts on their favourite game they wish to buy.
Much more than the ones you get as a Gold member!
The high-quality games can get super cheap for the amount of content they can put out.
You won’t have to keep your eyes peeled either since you will be automatically notified about them.
Earn Rewards by Playing Games via Xbox Game Pass Library
By playing games in your Xbox Game Pass Library, you also get to earn amazing Microsoft Rewards!
These rewards are redeemable for cash discounts and provide perks including in-game add-ons, exclusive in-game challenges, related game add-ons, discounted Microsoft store price, additional console games, and much more.
The intent is to obtain real transaction benefits on the Marketplace.
All you have to do is finish a bunch of weekly sets or Xbox Game Pass Quests, and maintain your streak to unlock bonuses.
You can also take part in monthly surveys conducted by Microsoft, and watch live streams to get those benefits.
Mind you, the Game Pass benefits are dependent on the type you own.
So the benefits I talked about above are something you can enjoy if you get the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Which brings us to…
Types of Xbox Game Pass
What are the Types of Xbox Game Pass?
It’s divided into 3 tiers:
Xbox Game Pass for Consoles.
Xbox Game Pass for PC.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
The first two are quite self-explanatory; the Xbox Game Pass is usable depending on what platform it targets.
While the Xbox Game Pass for Consoles is used for consoles, the Xbox Game Pass for PC is for PC games exclusively.
You cannot use them interchangeably.
This is because the Xbox Game Pass library for them can potentially be different.
This is why there’s a third variant; the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
This is the combination of the first two, along with the offerings I’ve already talked about.
If you want to try the Pass out, I do highly recommend it.
The first 3 months are provided to you for only $1.00/month.
After that, the prices change depending on the Game Pass you want to go for.
Xbox Game Pass Cost
So, How Much Does Xbox Game Pass Cost?
The first 3 months of your membership will cost you $1.00 for each month on the condition that your account hasn’t had any history of using the Xbox Game Pass. After that, the prices change back to normal.
If you were wondering when Game Pass expires, don’t worry; they’re all monthly subscriptions.
Payments are recurring, so once the month ends, your payment details registered under your Xbox account will automatically be used to pay for the next month’s subscription cycle.
You can opt out of recurring payments if you remove your payment details from your account settings.
That would mean you need to pay for the subscription by visiting the store and going through the whole form-filling shebang.
Types of Game Passes
Now, the price points differ based on the type of Pass you’re going for. Say you bought the Game Pass for consoles.
In that case, you can only use it for consoles, and not for PC.
The only exception is applied to the Game Pass Ultimate; it’s an amalgamation of the PC or console libraries, Gold, and EA Play.
Here’s the rundown of the prices:
Cost Per Month (In US$)
Xbox Game Pass for Consoles
Xbox Game Pass for PC
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Different Xbox Subscription prices
You should know you won’t get Xbox Live Gold with the first and the second Game Pass variants.
If you want it, you have to get the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or buy it separately.
On the bright side, if there are any Live Gold or Passcodes you want to use, you can!
Even if you are subscribed to Pass Ultimate.
Xbox Game Pass Codes
How Do I Redeem Xbox Game Pass Codes?
Every Game Pass/Live Gold code you enter will automatically convert itself to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and add itself to your current subscription date.
Here’s the conversion rate table, showing the ratios between what sort of service the code provides, and the Ultimate subscription time:
Extended Time for Game Pass Ultimate
1 month of Xbox Live Gold
1 month of Xbox Game Pass
3 months of Xbox Live Gold
3 months of Xbox Game Pass
6 months of Xbox Live Gold
6 months of Xbox Game Pass
1 Year of Xbox Live Gold
1 Year of Xbox Game Pass
2 Years of Xbox Live Gold
2 years of Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Conversion rate table
For every code you redeem in your Xbox account, your current subscription to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is extended for a certain amount.
Say you had a code that gave you a month’s worth of Xbox Live Gold.
If you used the code while your Pass Ultimate was active, then you get 20 days added to the current cycle under the Microsoft account you used the code with.
You can see how it snowballs from there.
Now, there is a downside to this. The conversion is automatic, but you cannot make the choice to convert it yourself.
It would’ve been nice to let us make that choice so that we could plan our subscription out.
Who can Use Xbox Game Pass
Who Can Use Xbox Game Pass?
The one thing that I give credit to Microsoft for is that they made the Pass available for most countries in the world.
This is already a lot better than the PlayStation Now, which is available for fewer regions.
A simple way to look at it: If your region is selling Xbox Series X and/or the Xbox Series S, then you can guarantee that you can also buy the Xbox Game Pass.
Even so, here’s a list:
Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Hong Kong SAR, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, United States
Australia, New Zealand
Now, there are some points to keep in mind about the Game Pass Ultimate.
Firstly, the Game Pass Ultimate only works on the Xbox One and its successors.
So if you were wondering, “Where is Game Pass on Xbox 360“, then unfortunately the answer to that is, “It’s not available.”
I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t keep any hopes up about that happening either.
Cancelling Your Pass
Secondly, you can always cancel the subscription, and get a refund based on the number of days left on your membership.
So if you were to buy it on an Xbox 360, do not worry about it; contact support, and they’ll get everything straightened out for you!
Converting Your Remaining Pass Into Gold
Thirdly, you cannot convert the remaining days of your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription into Xbox Live Gold or whatnot.
The Pass has no control over changing how a game works when we talk about its online components.
It depends on the game itself.
If the game’s Xbox Live Marketplace page has an “Xbox Play Anywhere” label, then it’s cross-platform.
I should also mention that while some games do support cross-platform play, there are others that do so only partially.
That’s why it’s worth taking a look at the store page of the game separately to see if it is or not.
The reason being the game catalogue varies in the Pass Library.
Most free-to-play titles are guaranteed to have cross-platform services, such as Fortnite, Rocket League, SMITE, and Realm Royale.
Which brings up an interesting question: “Can Game Pass play with Steam?“
Is Xbox Game Pass Coming to Other Platforms?
Microsoft has long since been publishing their games on Steam. And you’ll still need an Xbox account to play them.
For example, Halo: The Master Chief Collection requires your Microsoft account for multiplayer.
There is a good chance that the service will be made available on Steam.
In fact, there are rumours that suggest Valve may be trying to get the Pass on Steam.
However, for the time being, you cannot use or play Game Pass Ultimate with Steam.
Which begs another question: “Will Game Pass come to PS5?” Short answer; no. The PlayStation brand hasn’t seen any first-party Microsoft games arrive on their platforms, save for the timed exclusives which were largely third-party.
For that to happen, a partnership between Microsoft and Sony would need to occur. Honestly, I don’t see that happening, considering how difficult it was to get the cross-platform deals to go over smoothly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Xbox Game Pass Ultimate replace Gold?
If you have an existing Xbox Live Gold membership, and you bought Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, then the current Gold membership you have left will be converted into a Game Pass subscription. However, Xbox Game Pass does not wholly replace Gold as a service. If you don’t want the Game Pass, you can still go for Gold.
Is Xbox Live free now that Xbox Game Pass is released?
No. You will still be charged the usual amount based on the number of months you’re buying the Xbox Live Gold subscription for.
Does Xbox Game Pass for Console include Gold?
No. Xbox Live Gold is provided only through the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. However, the Xbox Game Pass for Console will provide you with EA Play and other benefits.
Can I share Xbox Game Pass with my family?
Yes, absolutely. As long as your family uses the same Xbox console on which you’ve set your account to primary, they will have access to your Xbox Game Pass Library, the Xbox app and other free games.
How long do games stay on Xbox Game Pass?
Xbox Game Pass games usually stay for 6 months to 1 year. However, it depends entirely on the publisher. Some stay for a week. Some for less than a month. So on.
How many games are in Xbox Game Pass Library?
Over 100 high-quality games are offered to you from launch day.
Are You Getting the Xbox Game Pass?
With all the goodies they offer, the Xbox Game Pass Experience is… well, hard to pass!
It’s an affordable service that offers so much, you’d bite off more than you can chew.
Especially if you count the first 3 months as a first-time member; it’s worth as much as your favourite joint’s burger!
Have you tried the Game Pass Ultimate yet?
Let me know what you thought of it!
And for those trying it for the first time, don’t hesitate to voice any concerns you may have in the comments below.