Microsoft is hiking the price of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and launching a new “Standard” tier

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Microsoft is planning to hike its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate pricing again in September, alongside launching a new “standard” subscription that doesn’t include day-one access to first-party Xbox games.

The Xbox maker has started emailing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers warning of a price increase to $19.99 a month that starts on September 12th, a $3 increase over the current $16.99 a month pricing.

PC Game Pass subscribers will also see a price hike in September, with the service moving from $9.99 to $11.99 per month and maintaining access to day-one titles.

The price increases will largely affect Ultimate subscribers who make up the vast majority of Game Pass subscribers and come just over a year after the last Game Pass price hikes raised rates by $1–$2 per month.

Alongside the Ultimate and PC Game Pass price hikes, Microsoft will also offer a new option of an Xbox Game Pass Standard subscription without day-one titles that will be priced at $14.99 per month for new users to the service.

I revealed in May that Microsoft was considering raising Xbox Game Pass Ultimate pricing again, amid a debate around adding Call of Duty to the service.


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22 Comments

UrLogicFails

I can't say I'm surprised to see Gamepass get a price hike; it always seemed like it was in the loss leader stage to try to grow market share.

I wonder what the reasoning was to institute the hike now, though, since I'm not sure how strong their market share actually is on it.

My theory is that either: * Microsoft is tired of footing the bill and expects results now * Microsoft/ Xbox think they have enough market share, so it is time to stop cultivating and time to start harvesting

My understanding is they are still releasing new Series S models, which are basically just Gamepass machines; so I would expect they are not happy with their current market share (though corporations literally never are), which makes me think it's the former option, not the latter.

All that being said, I wonder how much the price can increase before the value proposition of Gamepass is moot. Right now 20 USD a month doesn't sound bad as long as you're playing at least one new game a month, but I wonder how much more room there is in the price before the number of games you would need to play becomes unreasonable.

Personally, I've never been a fan of the Gamepass model since I like owning my games physically (it's the main reason I prefer console to PC), so I don't have much of a horse in this race; but I will be interested to see what becomes of Gamepass in the long term.

Gamma

I’ve only really used it to try out new games, it’s a great deal if you only use it for a month at a time!

jaxiiruff

Cant wait for gamepass to cost like $60 a month in a couple years only for people to continue to stay subscribed cause they were successfully trapped and dont want to lose access to the old games they like playing.

NoIWontPickAName

I just buy the ones I like, especially once they leave game pass and go on a huge sale

Hdcase

I think a lot of people will end up unsubscribing and then buying the games they miss.

Thassodar

I've successfully left Gamepass for over a year and came back recently, no problem. All my saves were still on their cloud from two years ago, and I had access to games I wouldn't have considered buying, like Lies of P.

jaxiiruff

Yeah you had to resubscribe or buy the games again. Years down the line you may want to play older games much more than newer ones but the service decides to value itself on the new.

averyminya

I feel like this is looking at it from the wrong perspective... Looking at it like that, it is just trying to use a service in a way that it isn't intended. Don't get me wrong, I'm super anti-subscription and anti-gamepass, but I don't feel like much of MS Gamepass is trying to sell you on having these games forever. It's a way to let you try a library of games that you might not have felt was worth paying for individually -- I have almost no interest in playing the next Battlefield games, but with Gamepass I can try out Jedi Survivor alongside however many other games I want to check out.

It's a more straightforward Playstation Plus, with much less of that vibe of trying to get you to keep paying on a fear of missing out on "free" games that you're paying monthly to own. Both of these digital storefronts are selling you the exact same premise, but promote them in different ways. PSN says hey, you get 2 games a month for paying for online services, and they stack. (I think now it's actually a PSN library, similar to MS though?). MS says hey, you get 40+ games a month for paying for our subscription, and you get a discount if you want to buy one.

If I actually like one of the games, the cost of the subscription is removed from the total price of the game, effectively meaning if there are 2 games you like enough to buy, the subscription is somewhat worth it if you don't mind having it tied to Microsoft.

Basically, Gamepass isn't supposed to replace your main game library, it's a digital game rental service. Yes, you absolutely can rent out a single game, or even 30 games, for the next 10 years. And everyone would judge you for making that poor decision to rent them for that long, when you could have bought it with the discount. Should companies be able to offer something that the consumer can ignore and get screwed over by? I'm not sure. Probably not. But I also don't think I can really call this scummy, unlike some of their other moves. If in 10 years someone's library only consists of games played through Gamepass, and they are afraid to unsubscribe... How many games would that realistically be? The Gamepass library isn't that large, nor has it rotated that many games.

Again, very anti-subscription and overall anti-Gamepass, but I think in this example it's kind of on the person if they choose to rent a game for the next 10 years. If you like the game, why not buy it? Why would this person be locked into paying for Gamepass for so long? Because their account has other games they may or may not decide to play at any given time? I personally just don't see the issue for this particular case, unless I'm missing something or not understanding where you're coming from with it.

Father_Redbeard

I hope there's a deal exploit like buying 3 years of GP for $3-4/mo by using a VPN like I did about a year ago. If not, I won't be subscribing and will likely get rid of my series X. I've been very disappointed in it anyway. Oh well, still have the original and the 360....

0xtero

It's the circle of enshittification

PoolloverNathan

*♪ It's the ciiircle of shiiiiiiiit ♪*

HubertManne

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

jprice

Perfect timing, just when Xbox is lagging in sales. Typical shit Microsoft.

Hdcase

Surely this will turn things around for them 🙄

Gamma

The new standard option also include online console multiplayer access, which is something that Xbox Game Pass for Console lacked previously.

The standard tier sounds decent, loss of release day games but I’m guessing they’re expecting CoD to push people to the higher tier.

Hdcase

Game Pass used to mean all first party games, day one, and now 2/3 tiers on console won't have that. It's a pretty shocking turnaround.

Gamma

You’re right, it’s a pretty big downgrade and probably reason enough to cancel for a lot. Especially with CoD, they could save the subscription for a few months and then buy it and keep it.

onlooker

Not surprising. Either this was their long game or MS is in crisis mode, because lately they haven't been doing so hot.

DoucheBagMcSwag , edited

My wife called this right after the call of duty game pass leak happened

megopie

I think Microsoft has been trying to build towards cloud computing of everything on user devices.

Games pass seems to have been them building towards a Google stadia type system. Getting a large user base of monthly subscribers used to Spotify like game experience, and then slowly running more and more off of the user device.

The contraction of studios, internal fighting, and this price hike makes me think they’re is some internal opposition to go all in on this, even as they go full speed ahead on the windows side of things.

th_in_gs

Do you still have to buy some tier of gamepass to be able to play multiplayer games that you own online?

TurboHarbinger

I was waiting for CoD games to be in gamepass so I could play those 6-8h campaigns (not interested in mp), not worth even at 50%discount.

Now I guess if Xbox is going to release new high profile games on gamepass, its going to be always the premium sub.