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News video games 10 July 2024, 05:02

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Game Pass With Big Changes. Microsoft Raises Prices and Modifies Terms of Use

Microsoft is introducing new Game Pass subscription pricing, and replacing the existing Xbox Game Pass with a standard, poorer variant without access to launch games.

Source: Microsoft.

Higher prices and a new type of subscription - these are the changes introduced today by Microsoft in Xbox and PC Game Pass services. The giant from Redmond published the most important information regarding the update of its subscription offer.

New prices for all countries can be found in the document provided by Microsoft. In USA, the cost of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription will increase from $16.99 to $19.99 per month, and the PC Game Pass will increase from $9.99 to $11.99. The price of the 12-month subscription for Game Pass Core (which provides limited access to over 25 games) will increase from $59.99 to $74.99.

Price changes will apply from today for new Game Pass users, and from September 12 for those renewing their subscription.

Xbox Game Pass not for new members

Apart from changing the price, Microsoft also modified the rules for the subscription itself. From now on, only the Ultimate subscription (and PC Game Pass) will provide access to games on the day of release. However, all options - including the cheapest Xbox Game Pass Core - will provide the ability to play online.

In addition, a new subscription option has been introduced: Xbox Game Pass Standard. This includes "hundreds of high-quality games (instead of 25 as in the cheaper Core variant), online multiplayer mode on the console, selected offers, and discounts for members." Titles from the Xbox Game Pass offer won't be available on the day of release in the "standard" version.

Speaking of which: Xbox Game Pass Standard will somehow replace the existing XGP, at least for new users. People with an active subscription will still be able to extend it, starting from September 18, 2024. The maximum extension limit for GP subscriptions on Xbox will be 13 months. This means that these users will still have access to Microsoft games at launch.

Confusion and lack of surprise among experts

The first information about the changes caused confusion among internet users. Even many industry journalists weren't sure at first what exactly Game Pass would look like after today's changes (see Tom Warren on X).

Some Internet users also point out that there is no mention of Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family, a family package that was tested a year ago. The page of this service variant is also unavailable.

Nonetheless, experts and journalists aren't surprised by the changes. Jeff Grubb from The Verge magazine sarcastically observed that Microsoft's announcement effectively confirms the failure of the Redmond giant's strategy, which had been banking on Game Pass as the future of the gaming market for years.

In turn, analyst Daniel Ahmad (Niko Partners) already indicated at the beginning of May that there is no way to completely withdraw the access to games for the premiere on XGP. Now he added that the reason for the changes may be the insufficient growth of the subscription user base outside of Xbox consoles. The fact that PC Game Pass remained unchanged is supposed to confirm this thesis.

Jacob Blazewicz

Jacob Blazewicz

Graduated with a master's degree in Polish Studies from the University of Warsaw with a thesis dedicated to this very subject. Started his adventure with in 2015, writing in the Newsroom and later also in the film and technology sections (also contributed to the Encyclopedia). Interested in video games (and not only video games) for years. He began with platform games and, to this day, remains a big fan of them (including Metroidvania). Also shows interest in card games (including paper), fighting games, soulslikes, and basically everything about games as such. Marvels at pixelated characters from games dating back to the time of the Game Boy (if not older).