Game Pass Getting Big Price Increase In Messiest Way Possible

An image shows the Xbox logo in front of rising numbers and arrows.

Image: Xbox / Kotaku /Rasi Bhadramani (Getty Images)

Microsoft is making some big changes to Xbox Game Pass, including raising the price on some tiers while discontinuing others and adding whole new options, turning the once easy-to-understand service—and arguably the best deal in gaming—into a confusing and pricey mess.

On July 9, people began sharing emails from Xbox seemingly referencing an upcoming price increase for Game Pass subscribers in September. Wario64 shared the news on X (formerly Twitter). Shortly after that, Windows Central confirmed that a price increase for Game Pass Ultimate was happening, along with a host of other changes. One of the biggest is the news that Xbox is introducing a new plan that will replace the Game Pass console tier. This new plan, which will be known as Standard, will no longer include day-one game releases.

Xbox has since posted an FAQ on its official support page explaining all the changes and it’s kind of a mess. Here are the highlights:

  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in the United States will go from $17 a month to $20 a month. This price change starts for new subscribers on July 10 and will kick in for pre-existing members in September.
  • Xbox Game Pass for Console, a cheaper alternative to Game Pass Ultimate that didn’t include PC games or EA Play titles, is going away. This plan will be replaced for new users in “the coming months” with Game Pass Standard. This plan will cost $15 a month in the US. Users currently subscribed to Xbox Game Pass for Console will be allowed to stay on the plan with no changes.
  • Xbox also confirmed that this new Game Pass Standard tier won’t include new games on day one, which has been standard with Game Pass since its creation.
  • Microsoft says that some day-one Game Pass releases will eventually be made available to Game Pass Standard subscribers at a later date.
  • Starting on September 12, 2024, Xbox will no longer let people stack Game Pass for Console pre-paid cards for more than 13 months. People who are already beyond this limit won’t be affected.
  • PC Game Pass is getting a price increase, from $10 to $12. PC subscribers will still get day-one games, according to Windows Central.
  • Xbox Game Pass Core aka Xbox Live Gold will see its annual price jump from $60 to $75. However, its monthly price of $10 will not change. (Xbox Game Pass Standard includes Core. Yes this is confusing.)

That’s a lot of changes that turn Game Pass into a messy and hard-to-parse subscription service with more tiers and caveats. It reminds me of the horrible and confusing state of PS Plus following Sony’s reshuffling of that service in 2022.

Honestly, at this point you might need to check a chart and an FAQ to figure out if your plan is changing, what’s changing, and how much it will cost you. It’s also very interesting that these price changes are happening in September, not long before Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 arrives on the service in October.

Kotaku has contacted Xbox about the changes to Game Pass.

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