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What is Xbox Game Pass? How much does it cost?

Here’s everything you need to know about Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription, from price to options.

If you’re an Xbox user, you’ve likely seen discussions about Xbox Game Pass. If you’re not sure what it means, look no further. Today, Xbox Game Pass offers a subscription service for just about everything and is Microsoft’s answer to monthly gaming subscriptions. Here’s how it works.

What is Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service for owners of Xbox One, Series X or Series 3 consoles that allows players to pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to a catalog of select games. You can play them as often or for as long as you want, like a streaming service-style offering, rather than buying individual games.

Xbox Game Pass includes some enticing games, including major AAA titles like GTA V and Sunset Overdrive. It also delivers some serious nostalgia by regularly including old Xbox 360 games, repurposed for modern consoles via backwards compatibility.

In addition to providing the opportunity to play the Xbox Game Pass catalog, the pass also provides access to new games on the day they are released at no additional cost.

How often is Xbox Game Pass updated?

Microsoft adds new games to Xbox Game Pass every month, usually updating them via the Xbox Blog the week before. Some games will remain on the pass for a month, but most will stay longer than that. There are usually around 300 games available to play at any given time.

How much does Xbox Game Pass cost?

Xbox Game Pass has several subscription levels, each with a different cost, ranging from $9.99 to $16.99 per month. Microsoft also regularly offers deals to new subscribers, such as $1 for the first month.

Here are the details of what each plan offers to subscribers.

Xbox Game Pass Core

Xbox Game Pass Core, once known as Xbox Live Gold, is the cheaper of the two options at $9.99. It offers a range of online multiplayer games, a portfolio of over 25 games, and members-only discounts on new releases.

Xbox Game Pass Core takes over Xbox Live Gold membership on September 14, 2023. Customers are automatically switched from Gold to Core membership without any action on their part.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

For a slightly more expensive subscription option ($16.99 per month), Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes all the same benefits as Xbox Game Pass Core, but also combines the service for PC and consoles, so you don’t have to subscribe to separate games for multiple devices.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate users also have access to the Xbox Game Pass mobile app, which gives Android users the ability to play games on the go (although not yet supported on iPhone) and sync game data across multiple devices via the cloud.

Some games will also offer exclusive ultimate benefits, such as additional add-ons, DLC, and membership discounts on updates and new releases not available to core subscribers.

How does Xbox Game Pass work?

Once you subscribe, you can easily get online and start playing games. Just like downloading free games or downloading games from the cloud, Xbox Game Pass games can be accessed through the library. Visit the Game Pass tab or Recently Added Channels to see what content is available, then download it to your account.

Downloading games means you don’t need to stream them (although many games can do this), reducing lag and loss of video quality. For the next 30 days, Xbox Game Pass subscribers can play any downloaded game for free. After 30 days, you will need to reconnect the game to the internet to verify your subscription. As long as you remain subscribed and the game is included in Game Pass, you can continue playing without paying and your history will be saved.

Where is Xbox Game Pass available?

Xbox Game Pass is currently available in the following countries, with more planned:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hongkong
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Dutch
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • U.K.
  • USA

Overall, most Xbox Game Pass games are the same around the world, with little difference between countries. Sometimes, different games are available in the US or on slightly different dates, but Microsoft tends to offer the same products everywhere in the world.

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