Now is the time if you haven’t subscribed to Microsoft’s Game Pass yet. Right now, you can get your first month of Game Pass for $1, an incredible deal for an already valuable service. Unfamiliar with Game Pass? Not to worry, we are going to go through everything you need to know about the service.

5 Facts about Game Pass 

What is Game Pass?

First things first, what is Game Pass? It’s a monthly subscription service that gives members access to a library of games as well as membership perks. One of these perks is EA Play, a separate subscription that comes bundled with all Game Pass memberships.

EA Play is a lot like Game Pass but just for EA titles. You can download games from Electronic Arts’ (EA) extensive library of games and get special deals and in-game content for EA games. This is also a perk of Game Pass, in-game content as well as special deals. You also get access to Xbox Game Studios Exclusive titles the day they are released.

The service has over 400 titles at any one time. Xbox exclusives like Halo, Forza, and anything from subsidiary, Bethesda, are basically permanent. Third-party titles are constantly rotating due to licensing agreements. So, you’ll get a deep roster of games at any one time, but the landscape is always changing.

Once a game is set to leave the service, Game Pass offers a 20% discount to purchase that game outright. If a game is on the service, you will have access to it for the tenure of your subscription. If you decide to leave the service for whatever reason, you can transfer your saved data to another account, like Steam. Granted, the process is needlessly clunky but it is an option if you decide to drop Game Pass.

Game Pass: Each Plan Explained

There are three versions of Game Pass you can sign up for: PC Game Pass, Xbox Game Pass, and Game Pass Ultimate. Let’s dig into some of the similarities and differences of each plan.

Xbox Games with Gold
Game Pass is an excellent subscription service to expand your access to games on both Xbox and PC.

PC Game Pass

PC Game Pass: 3 Month Membership [Digital Code]
  • Play hundreds of high-quality PC games with friends on Windows for one low monthly price.
  • With a huge variety of PC games from every genre, and new games added all the time, there’s something for everyone to play.
  • Use the Xbox app on PC to download and enjoy new games on day one from Bethesda Softworks, as well as iconic franchises like Halo from Xbox Game Studios, indie games, blockbusters, and PC favorites including Age of Empires IV and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
  • An EA Play membership is included and gives you access to top Electronic Arts titles on PC from series like Battlefield and STAR WARS. Plus, you get more from the games you love with exclusive in-game challenges and rewards, special member-only content, and early trials of select new EA titles.
  • Get member discounts and deals on select games and game add-ons in the PC Game Pass library.

As the name suggests, this subscription plan is strictly for the PC. Originally rolled out as a beta called Xbox Game Pass for PC, it has graduated to a full-on plan option for Game Pass.  

PC Game Pass can be kind of confusing so, let’s run down how it works. You have to download the Xbox for PC app and download games from there.

This sounds fine, but users have reported a lot of issues with the app. Prone to frequent crashes, bugs, and performance issues, the app is unanimously despised by members. It has a confusing, poorly designed interface and doesn’t offer the quality you would find in other services like steam.

As far as game selection, it is very similar to the offerings on Xbox, save a few gems that didn’t come to the console. Xbox and Bethesda games are a mainstay, and you still have access to the day one releases.

Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass for Console: 3 Month Membership [Digital Code]
  • Play new games like Starfield on day one and enjoy hundreds of high-quality games on console for one low monthly price with Xbox Game Pass for Console.*
  • Download and enjoy iconic franchises from Xbox Game Studios, Bethesda Softworks, indie studios, blockbusters, and more.
  • With a huge variety of games from every genre, and new titles added all the time, there’s something for everyone to play.
  • Get member discounts off select games in the Game Pass for Console library and related game add-ons.
  • Upgrade your experience to Game Pass Ultimate to get all the benefits of Game Pass for Console, plus online multiplayer to play with friends on console, PC, phones, and tablets. An EA Play membership is included and get exclusive member Perks.*

The original console version of the game is about as polished as it gets. For $10 a month ($1 for the first month), players get access to a huge library of games, including new titles, just like the PC version.

The Xbox Game Pass app is super easy to access and use and yields a much better experience than its PC counterpart. It doesn’t come with an Xbox Live Gold Membership, however, so if you are looking to play online you will need to sign up for that separate service or upgrade to Ultimate.

Game Pass Ultimate

Sale
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: 3 Month Membership [Digital Code]
  • Includes online multiplayer and hundreds of high-quality games to play with friends on console, PC, and cloud, plus an EA Play membership, all for one low monthly price.*
  • Enjoy new games on day one like Starfield from Bethesda Softworks as well as iconic franchises like Halo from Xbox Game Studios, indie games, blockbusters, and more. With games added all the time, there’s always something new to play.*
  • EA Play gives you access to top titles on console and PC, including best-loved series like Battlefield and STAR WARS.
  • Play along with a community of millions of Xbox console players with Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta). Jump in on your Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One—no installs required. Discover and keep playing a game with cloud gaming across console, Windows PC, or phones and tablets.*
  • Enjoy free Perks, including in-game content, consumables, and more. Plus, get member discounts off select games in the Xbox Game Pass library and related game add-ons.

The best of both worlds, Game Pass Ultimate is probably the plan most users will want to go for. You get access to everything from PC and Console Game Pass plans, plus EA Play, plus a subscription to Xbox Live Gold all for $14.99. All in all, it’s a stupidly good deal for gamers.

Ultimate also comes with access to the cloud gaming beta, Xbox’s stab at game streaming. The service is fairly stable at the moment but it doesn’t offer as much performance as rivals in the cloud gaming market.

Xbox Cloud gaming can run games at 1080p at 60 FPS, compared to 1440p at 120 FPS on Google Stadia. Still, the service is in its beta right now and, hopefully, it can increase its performance levels before the full release.

The History of Game Pass: What to Know

Game Pass was announced on February 28th, 2017. Part pet project, part mea culpa, the service was intended to get gamers back on the Xbox One platform and create excitement for the future.

When it was originally released, the Xbox One was positioned as more than just a gaming console, but a complete entertainment hub. This shift away from a gaming focus irritated some fans who didn’t care about these features.

Game Pass was a one-two punch designed to reinvest in the gaming aspect of Microsoft’s business as well as test out a subscription model that had proved lucrative for video streamers, like Netflix. The service was originally offered to members of the Xbox Insider community. Members got access to a small number of titles and gave the company feedback on the project.

It was officially rolled out later that year to Xbox Live Gold members than to the public at large.

The service was built around one game originally, the action-adventure game Sea of Thieves. Developed by legendary studio Rare, Sea of Thieves was conceived as an open-world, multiplayer pirate sim played in the first person. Players could join friends online to travel the high seas and take on merchant contracts for various companies.

The most notable thing about the game’s release was its inclusion as one of the first first-party releases on Xbox Game Pass. Sea of Thieves might not be remembered today but Game Pass is trucking along just fine.

The Public Response

It’s safe to say that Game Pass is a hit. The service’s subscriber count has steadily increased every year and many fans bought the less powerful Xbox Series S simply to access Game Pass games.

By the end of 2020, Game Pass had over 15 million subscribers. A few months later in January 2021, the subscriber base had grown to 18 million. By January 2022, that number had grown to 25 million. Game Pass’ growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Most game journalists have praised the service as an invaluable subscription for any gamer. Game Pass has something for everyone, from Bethesda classics like Skyrim and Fallout to new third-party titles, like Two Point Campus. Game Pass continues to prove why it’s the best deal in the biz.

Last update on 2022-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Your Complete Guide to Game Pass: Price, Games, Features, and More FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Does Xbox Live Gold include Game Pass?

No, Game Pass is a separate service. The two are bundled together if you sign up for Game Pass Ultimate, but only with that plan. You don’t need Xbox Live Gold to play Game Pass games, but you do need it to play online multiplayer for most games.

Is Game Pass worth it?

Absolutely, although you want to pick the right plan. Ultimate is the best plan for value and for gamers that use Xbox and PC. For gamers that use one or the other, Game Pass offers a huge variety of games and in-game content well worth the price.

Does Game Pass stream games?

Not at the moment. Game Pass Cloud gaming is still in beta and isn’t currently as polished as other competitors.

How much is Game Pass?

There are three plans for Game Pass. PC Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass are both $9.99 per month. Ultimate, the combination of PC and Console plans plus Xbox Live Gold, is $14.99 per month.

Is there crossplay on Game Pass Ultimate?

Yes, if the title you are playing is labeled “Play Anywhere” you can play it on PC or Console using the same save file.

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More from History-Computer

  • The Verge Available here: https://www.theverge.com/2021/1/26/22250795/xbox-game-pass-subscribers-growth-microsoft
  • Windows Central Available here: https://www.windowscentral.com/xbox-game-pass
  • CNET Available here: https://www.cnet.com/tech/gaming/xbox-game-pass-ultimate-review-the-best-content-deal-in-gaming-right-now/
  • Xbox Available here: https://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-game-pass#join
  • EA Play FAQs Available here: https://www.ea.com/ea-play/faq