Xbox Game Pass is getting a price hike — and a new tier with limited games access

Xbox Game Pass is getting a price hike — and a new tier with limited games access

Featured News Xbox Game Pass is getting a price hike — and a new tier with limited games access ByKim Snaith 10 July 202410 July 2024

It was bound to happen at some point. Like all subscription services eventually do, Xbox Game Pass is getting a price hike. It’s also getting a few major changes alongside, including a change to tiers — meaning not all Game Pass subscription options will give you access to day one titles.

The news of the changes has been announced to current subscribers via email. While there hasn’t been a public announcement made on Xbox Wire, Microsoft has made a help page available explaining the changes. So… let’s dive into them.

Xbox Game Pass price changes

  • Game Pass Ultimate: was £12.99/$16.99 a month, now £16.99/$19.99
  • Game Pass Core: was £49.99/$59.99 every 12 months, now £59.99/$74.99
  • PC Game Pass: was £7.99/$9.99 every month, now £9.99/$11.99

If you’re a new subscriber, you’ll pay the new prices from today, 10th July. If you’re an existing member, you’ll pay the new prices from 12th September.

From today, new members won’t be able to sign up for Xbox Game Pass for Console. Instead, a new tier – Xbox Game Pass Standard will become available soon. If you’re a current Console subscriber, your price or subscription will not be affected just yet. Xbox Game Pass Standard, however, does not include day one releases. It’ll cost $14.99 a month (UK pricing TBC, but likely around £12).

The Xbox Game Pass console tiers

Game Pass Core

  • Can play games online (previously Xbox Live Gold)
  • Limited library of around 25 games to play

Game Pass Standard

  • No day-one releases
  • Library of hundreds of games
  • Can play online

Game Pass Ultimate

  • All day one releases
  • All Game Pass games available
  • EA Play membership
  • All PC games
  • Cloud gaming
  • Online play

So: Ultimate is now the only way to play games via the Cloud. The good news is that the new Standard tier includes online play (i.e. Xbox Live Gold), which currently isn’t part of Game Pass for Console.

The big but, however, is that Standard doesn’t include day one release. You know, the thing that has always been Game Pass’s main selling point. We assume that means it definitely won’t include first party games, and it could also include any third-party day one releases that land on Game Pass too. It’s a big blow, massively devaluing the Game Pass package. Especially when Ultimate, which still includes all of those things, is only $5 more. It makes Ultimate seem better value than ever, then.

Confusing choices?

Perhaps the biggest thing is that Microsoft continues to make the Game Pass choices more confusing than ever. We get it: different people want different things. But there are now three distinct tiers just for console, and more choices if you’re a PC gamer. It also becomes muddy when each tier has access to different games. Gone is the all-encompassing “Available on Game Pass” banner that has pervaded Xbox Game Studios trailers for the last couple of years, because it’s simply no longer true. Available on some Game Pass tiers, sure.

A cost too high

If you play a lot of Xbox, like to dabble in different games and are always playing new games on Game Pass every month, we’d wager that even with the price hike, you’re probably still going to get value in Game Pass Ultimate. But for some people, who might only play a handful of titles, $240 a year is a lot to ask.

Especially in a time where we all have several subscriptions — Netflix, Disney Plus, PS Plus, Hulu, Spotify, whatever else. They all add up, and they’re all going up. We can’t possibly continue paying for all of them indefinitely, and so for a lot of us, something has to go. We just wonder for how many people, the choice of the one to ditch will be Xbox Game Pass. After all, it’s become one of the most expensive.

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