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  • Writer's pictureGreg Ezell

Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass Changes Impact Console Players

Xbox controller
Console players have a choice to make with Microsoft's new Game Pass pricing

Back in the day, Microsoft decided to create a revolutionary video game streaming service called "Game Pass", which allowed a consumer to pay a per-month fee to play a ton of video games.

Yesterday, Microsoft has announced a major change to the Game Pass service, which includes ending "Day One" releases on the console only subscription. Let's get into the pricing model: Starting today, July 10th, Xbox Game Pass for Consoles is not available to new members. If you're currently part of that package, you'll be able to continue to use it until September at which time you'll have to make the decision to move to Xbox Game Pass Standard or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

While this doesn't sound like a bad thing, Xbox Game Pass Standard does not include day one releases of Microsoft published games. Looking forward to Black Ops 6 or Avowed and you're on console? The only way to get that is to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a higher tier price.

This isn't the only change that Microsoft is making to the service. While they've been slicing and dicing tiers, the big green X is also raising prices on all tiers. Let's go through it:

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Currently $16.99 per month; raising to $19.99 per month. This is the only option for console players that want day one Microsoft published games. This tier allows access on both Xbox and PC.

Xbox Game Pass Standard: $14.99 per month. No day one games, but access to full catalog otherwise. Microsoft has not stated when new releases will be available to this tier.

Xbox Game Pass Core: $9.99 per month. Online included. Small batch of games available.

Xbox Game Pass PC: Currently $9.99 per month; raising to $11.99 per month. This includes day one releases and full access to the PC lineup which is different than the console lineup of Game Pass.

Starting September 12, 2024, the new changes in tiered pricing will be instituted to everyone.

Despite owning an Xbox Series X, I am almost strictly a PC player. While the price increase to $11.99 per month for PC Game Pass is annoying, it isn't a deterrent from continuing the service.

Console players are the ones who are getting the raw end of the deal here. As a console player, you need to figure out if getting games day one is a big draw for you. If it isn't, the $14.99 per month tier may be more palatable to you. Either way, Game Pass Ultimate remains the worst choice for console players because you're paying $19.99 a month for day one games without using 50% of the service (the PC access piece).

If game streaming services are the future (or the present?), I would expect a lot more programs to mimic what Microsoft is doing here. Truthfully, no one wins in this.


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