Xbox Game Pass launched way back in 2017, but it's hands down the "killer app" for Microsoft's new Xbox Series X/S hardware. Often referred to as "Netflix for games," it's a moniker that's actually pretty accurate, just as the now-ubiquitous streaming service means you'll never be able to buy 4K DVDs or Blu-Rays again.

Xbox Game Pass is arguably an essential part of the overall Xbox ecosystem. We usually see subscription discounts increase around this time of year, and Black Friday 2022 should be no exception here. Be sure to check out our best Black Friday Xbox deals, as we'll let you know about all the Xbox Game Pass discounts coming down the pike.

Microsoft's subscription means you may never need to buy a game, especially for next-generation Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S hardware. At a reasonable monthly price, gamers get access to a host of third-party games, and Microsoft's own offerings arrive on day one as well. If you sign up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, that also includes EA Play's list of games, which means gamers can enjoy a wealth of EA's back catalogue, as well as 10-hour free trials of new releases.

Also new, Xbox Cloud Gaming allows gamers to stream games to their mobile devices. Initially this only covered Android, but Apple and Microsoft have since found a way to bring the service to iOS and iPadOS. You can also experience cloud streaming directly through your Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, an upcoming Xbox Streaming Stick, and even the Oculus Quest 2 or Meta Quest Pro in the future.

Here's everything you need to know about the service, from price to content and available platforms.

    Xbox Game Pass subscription options:

  • 24-month plan: €4.99 per month (total cost €119.76) (Opens in a new tab)

xbox game pass

What is Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass is a service that offers a host of Xbox and PC titles that gamers can download and play on their Xbox console or Windows PC (or stream to their Android phone or tablet) for the price of a single monthly subscription. (€9.99 / €7.99 / AU$10.95 on console, or the same on PC).

Although the cost of the PC subscription has nearly doubled since the beta launched, it's part of how Microsoft pushes users to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which includes both platforms for €15 / €10.99 / AU$15.95 per month.

If you're hoping to get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for an even cheaper price, we've got good news. Although currently only being tested in the Republic of Ireland and Colombia, Microsoft plans to launch an Xbox Game Pass family plan, which allows you and up to four players to participate for a monthly cost of €21,99, which is around €21,99 / €19.99 / €32.99.

Whichever subscription you choose, you'll get a wide range of first-party and third-party titles from every generation of Xbox hardware. With backwards compatibility, you can go from the latest releases like DOOM Eternal, to classics like Alan Wake and Ninja Gaiden 2, to Fuzion Frenzy, a game that released alongside the original Xbox console.

While PC gamers don't get as many titles, they do get access to a plethora of indie games like Katana Zero, AAA-grade games like Gears 5, and everything in between. Playing any of the games on each platform will earn you achievements and a gamer score as you normally would, and a "Quest" system allows you to award rewards by trying new games or completing defined tasks.

Pantalla de inicio de Xbox Game Pass con una persona sosteniendo un controlador

Games come and go, but Xbox is forever (Image credit: Shutterstock/Miguel Lagoa)

EA Play also features over 60 EA titles and will be available as a free benefit. Typically a $4.99/$4.99 per month purchase on its own, EA Play is just another bowstring for Game Pass. It's a fun way to get you out of your gaming comfort zone and there's no risk of buyer's remorse since the games are included with your subscription.

Of course, you can choose to buy games directly. First-party games seem to stick around indefinitely, but others don't, and a 10% discount for those who risk leaving Game Pass is a good incentive to pick it up permanently. You'll also save on DLC and any add-ons or microtransactions.

So it's console and PC, but what about Cloud Gaming? Well, Microsoft's game streaming service doesn't cost anything extra, but it's now available in 22 countries. So as long as you have an Android phone running Google's operating system version 6.0 or later, you'll be able to stream your favorite titles. iOS support was also added later, so all you need is a good internet connection.

While Sony had made decent progress in catching up with its PlayStation Now service, it has now been pulled. Instead, cloud streaming was merged with Sony's top tier of the revamped PlayStation Plus, PS Plus Premium. While this gets you an extra library beyond the free monthly PS Plus games, it's still £13.49 / £17.99 per month, and Australia doesn't support it.

Xbox Game Pass: design and interface

Arte clave de Gears 5

Gears 5 (2019) (Image credit: Microsoft)

Previously tucked away in a corner of the Xbox Store, Xbox Game Pass sits almost front and center on the Xbox Dashboard. Just scroll down to find a handful of content blocks with recently added titles, suggestions, or even some sort of "shuffle play" feature for when you're not sure what you're in the mood for.

In the Game Pass menu, you can view games by genre or view the full list of included titles to choose your next title. There is also a "Leaving Soon" section, so you can plan all the purchases you want to make.

As we noted above, missions also give players reward points to turn in, which in turn can be redeemed for gifts and gift cards from retailers. Sure, it will take a while for you to get rewards with more monetary value, but it's a great way to keep players engaged with the service and the games on it.

When you browse your "My Games & Apps" page, you'll also see games that are part of the Game Pass (or EA Play) subscription, so you'll know which service each game is from.

Forza Horizon 5 un coche explota a través de un bioma de arena

Xbox Game Pass offers nearly 200 titles to choose from (Image credit: Microsoft)

From "My Games & Apps" you can access your entire library and access Game Pass content there. Microsoft really wants to put the service right under your nose, and it tactfully does so. Each game has a description, trailer, and screenshots, making it easy to choose. You can also view the download size, useful if you have a usage limit or just want to squeeze as much as you can on your hard drive.

While jumping into a PlayStation Plus session without downloading a game is inevitably faster than downloading a huge title, the increased stability and reduced input lag make Game Pass more robust. On the PC side, Microsoft has improved the app experience. Refined since the beta period, the Xbox app features a clean menu that shows all the games available, as well as the ones your friends are playing.

There are some occasional hiccups (ghost notifications seem to be common), but for the most part it's much better than the previous version. After you install a game, it's added to your PC as if you bought it from the Microsoft Store. So while you can launch Game Pass games in the Xbox app, it's not required and it's refreshing not to have to deal with a launcher.

Xbox Game Pass: Content Library

katana cero

Oh look, dear indies too! (Image credit: Return Digital)

It sounds like a cliché, but Xbox Game Pass really does offer something for everyone within its line of roughly 400 people.

Amongst big hits like DOOM Eternal, Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and many more, here's an impressive first part. That's not even taking into account previous hits like Forza Horizon 4 or Gears 5. Third-party titles are split between single-player and multiplayer games. Players can take part in a few rounds of the multiplayer giant Rainbow Six: Siege or many standalone ones as well.

Then there's Xbox 360 and the original Xbox classics, with Fable, Fallout New Vegas and Mass Effect at your fingertips. EA Play will only further bolster the lineup, adding recent releases like Need For Speed: Heat and Battlefield V, as well as classics like Dragon Age: Origins and Skate 3. Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda should also mean we're getting a plentiful offering. from Fallout. and Elder Scrolls games for the service.

Although the PC roster is slightly smaller, players can still enjoy ARK: Survival Evolved, Crusader Kings III, Forza Motorsport 7, and more.

Xbox Game Pass: what we liked

Pase de juegos de Xbox

Halo Infinite (Releases: 2021) (Image credit: Xbox)

  • Having a huge amount of gaming content at your fingertips, without worrying about additional purchases, always feels revolutionary.
  • EA Play is a great bonus at no additional cost.
  • The robust library on both platforms is excellent, and the PC app now seems to work much better.
  • Compatibility with Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Original Xbox titles.

Xbox Game Pass: What we didn't like

  • Bigger games will certainly take a while to download, so if you want an immediate burst of action, you'll probably prefer PlayStation Plus.
  • Much cheaper to go for Game Pass Ultimate if you want to play on both platforms.

Xbox Game Pass: Veredicto

xbox serie x

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Game Pass is what Microsoft is looking to hang its hat on with the next generation of consoles, and it's easy to see why. Between all the publisher-owned titles coming to the service from day one, the impressive third-party support, and the addition of EA Play, the service seems as crucial to the platform as an Xbox Gold membership.

Android users can also play a large number of games on the go, which means you might want to dive into the service just to play games on the go. Microsoft is integrating Game Pass into its core platform and bundling all of its hardware and software with it, and that commitment can only be a good thing.

Xbox Game Pass Deals

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