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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Xbox Game Pass: What does it cost, what are the benefits?

All you need to know about Xbox Game Pass, including subscription plan and price breakdown.

By: Tech Desk | Navi Mumbai |
Updated: January 26, 2022 6:01:15 pm
xbox game pass, what is xbox game pass,What is Game Pass and how much does it cost? Xbox’s subscription service explained. (Image credit: Microsoft)

A subscription-based gaming platform, more or less, seemed like a fever dream until Microsoft introduced theirs in 2017. Concerns regarding developer payout, price distribution, and overall games catalogue were in full force at the time, though it eventually died down as more and more people got access to it.

The feature was only available to owners of the Xbox console in its early stages, offering backwards compatibility for select 360 titles in addition to its vast pool of games. The company’s business model has thrived since then – expanding onto PC, bringing first-party titles on launch day, and partnering with brands to offer a 30-day free trial.

What is Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass is a monthly video game subscription system that grants members a selection of titles at a fixed rate. The catalogue contains over 100 games, both first-party and indie, which are ready to download and play. The feature is currently available on Xbox One and Series X|S consoles, alongside Windows PC via Microsoft’s Xbox app.

There is an Android version as well, which works on cloud-based technology, allowing one to stream games directly to their handsets. For iOS and Chromebook, however, the service has to be accessed via the web browser, as Apple’s store policies effectively ban applications that run third-party stores.

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Microsoft brings all its first-party titles to Game Pass on launch day, regardless of its scope. Big games like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 were made available to subscribers free of cost. It essentially works like a Netflix membership, where you receive unlimited content as long as you are paying for the service. Every month, a new set of third-party titles are added while select old ones leave the platform.

The company is currently in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion dollars. So, we could see games like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Call of Duty being added to the catalogue. Many were concerned that Microsoft would make COD an Xbox-exclusive title, though according to a statement by Phil Spencer, that is not the case. Games that are out now on the PlayStation ecosystem will continue to stay.

Microsoft also provides regular updates and post-launch support for online, live-service games such as Sea of Thieves, State of Decay, and Minecraft. Any DLC (downloadable content) is packaged along with your one-time subscription cost, and you get major discounts on any titles you would like to purchase.

Xbox Game Pass plans

Xbox Game Pass is divided into three main categories – Console, PC, and Ultimate. Keeping track of all the perks and features can be quite confusing, and therefore, we have broken them down for your convenience.

Xbox Game Pass for Console
Owners of the Xbox One or Series X|S consoles can pay a monthly fee of Rs 489, and receive instant access to over 100 high-quality games. Users can head over to their homepage to apply for a membership, and receive perks such as same-day release, new additions per month, and exclusive discounts for any purchases within the store.

The library also includes a lineup of iconic Bethesda titles such as Fallout and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which were added when Microsoft acquired the studio in 2020. The games get downloaded and installed directly onto your system, as they would with a digital purchase.

Currently, Microsoft is running an exclusive sale for Indian gamers, where by paying for a month of Xbox Game Pass, you get additional 7 months for free. The offer is applicable on all versions, and has to do some changes the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) made in terms of credit and debit card transactions.

PC Game Pass
Formerly known as just ‘Xbox Game Pass,’ this new naming scheme was unveiled during The Game Awards, last year, to avoid any confusion between the plans. PC Game Pass costs the same as its console counterpart but brings an additional improvement – EA Play.

Members can play AAA titles like Battlefield and FIFA at no extra cost, and the plan even lets you test out the latest releases for a limited period of 10 hours. Purchasing EA Play separately, either through Steam or Origin costs Rs 315, making Game Pass a valuable investment. The service can be accessed via the Microsoft Store or the included Xbox app on your Windows 10 or above system.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
If you own both a computer and an Xbox system, then the Game Pass Ultimate plan is a good bang for the buck. At a monthly subscription price of Rs 699, you get everything included in the Console and PC Game Pass package, alongside Xbox Live Gold.

In order to play online multiplayer on a console, players require a separate subscription. On PlayStation, you have the PS Plus, while on team green, it’s the Xbox Live. At face value, it is listed at Rs 489, but if you have a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, you get it for free.

Additionally, the plan offers support for cloud-based gaming, allowing one to stream and run high-end games on lower-spec systems. A beta version is out now for Android as well, and lets you play from a pool of select games on the platform. As mentioned earlier, iOS users will have to access it via the web browser.

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