Microsoft

Xbox Game Pass seems like a great deal for Xbox One owners. Is it really?

Despite being a fantastic gaming machine, the Xbox One has fallen far behind its competition in terms of units sold. But it’s not going down without a fight. Microsoft has been getting creative in its efforts to lure customers to the Xbox One. One of its big new plays is the Xbox Game Pass, a new subscription service. The question is: Is an Xbox Game Pass subscription worth it? Here’s everything you need to know.

xbox game pass Microsoft

What is the Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass is basically Netflix for Xbox games. It’s a subscription service that lets you download and play a selection of over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. You can access it as a channel with the Xbox Game Pass Lounge.

Big first-party games like Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 are available on it. Amazingly, upcoming games from Microsoft Studios will be available on Xbox Game Pass the day they launch. That means you won’t have to shell out $60 for games like Halo 6 or Gears of War 5 when they come out. You’ll be able to download them as soon as they become available at no additional charge beyond an Xbox Game Pass subscription.

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How much does Xbox Game Pass cost?

Every Xbox Game Pass kicks off with a 14-day free trial. After that, you can continue your Xbox Game Pass subscription for $9.99 per month.

That amounts to roughly $120 per year, which is just about the cost of two brand-new games. And since Microsoft gives its first-party games away to Xbox Game Pass members, you’ll get more than your money’s worth each year—even if you ignore the 100-plus other games available on the service.

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Xbox Game Pass games list

Xbox Game Pass comes with a library of over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. Games come and go each month on the service, just like movies and TV shows on Netflix. But so far, Microsoft has kept the total number of available titles in the 100-200 range.

What kind of games are we talking about? The catalog includes a broad spectrum of games. You have indie games like Braid and Spelunky, middle-ware games like Recore, and AAA games like Resident Evil 6. Since the number of games on the service is only a fraction of the games available, you’re not likely to find any one particular game you’re looking for. But if you’re cool with browsing the selections before picking the next game you want to play, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Here’s a sampling of some of the Xbox One games available in January 2018:

If, for some reason, you decide to purchase a game that’s on Xbox Game Pass, you’ll get it for 20 percent off, along with 10 percent off any additional in-game content you buy.

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What are the downsides to Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass is not without its faults. As mentioned above, games come and go on the service. So while you could play Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and WWE 2K16 for a few months there, they’re gone now.

Another downside is the limited selection of games available. If you get it in your head to play a particular game, you probably won’t find it on the service. About half of the games available are Xbox 360 games. While having access to them is a great way to keep older games available when’s the last time you wanted to play a 360 game on an Xbox One game?

The selection isn’t great, either. For every Halo 5 that’s on there, you’ll find dozens of games you almost certainly don’t care about.

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Xbox Live Gold

Subscribing to Xbox Game Pass doesn’t get you out of having to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold if you want to play your games online or access multiplayer features. Xbox Live Gold offers free games twice a month. Past games have included Assasin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Rayman Legends, Halo 3, and Gears of War 3.

Xbox Live Gold costs $9.99 per month, $24.99 for three months, or just $59.99 for a full year. So, at the very least, you’re looking at $14.99 a month for both the Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold, assuming you commit to an annual subscription to the latter.

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Is Xbox Game Pass worth it?

If, in any given year, you plan on buying several games from Microsoft Studios at launch (like Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3), and you don’t care about owning physical copies, Xbox Game Pass is a great deal. You’ll spend less on your subscription in a year than you would buying the games individually. You could even subscribe for the month when a game you want to play comes out and cancel when you’re done, saving a heap of money.

Overall, the Xbox Game Pass is a worthwhile purchase for most Xbox One owners. Just remember, if you cancel your subscription, you also lose access to the games.

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