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Microsoft Just Made Xbox Game Pass Needlessly Confusing Killing Its Potential

With the recent announcement of changes to its subscription tiers, Microsoft has effectively made Xbox Game Pass needlessly confusing, killing its potential in the process.

Microsoft announced that, starting July 10, 2024, new members subscribing to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, PC Game Pass, and 12-month subscriptions to Game Pass Core will see updated prices (see here for details). This change aims to align the subscription costs more closely with the value provided and market conditions. The price hike is accompanied by changes to subscription tiers that hurt the service’s potential and make things needlessly confusing.

Xbox game pass microsoft

The decision to end the basic Xbox Game Pass tier for Console has stripped the service of a meaningful option. While existing subscribers with automatic payment renewal enabled can continue their memberships, they will only be able to do so until September 18, 2024. It’s possible to further extend this by up to 13 months via redeemable Xbox Game Pass for Console codes. As such, the basic Xbox Game Pass tier for Console will ultimately be phased out for everyone.

This particular tier did not grant access to online multiplayer, and was a worthwhile option for those who only wished to explore the single-player offerings in the Game Pass catalog of titles. In the coming months, or possibly up to 13 months after September 18, 2024, those who preferred the basic Xbox Game Pass tier for Console will have no choice but to opt for the new Xbox Game Pass Standard tier, which will grant access to the Game Pass catalog and include all the benefits of Game Pass Core, such as online multiplayer and select member deals and discounts. However, there’s a catch, and a pretty major one. The Xbox Game Pass Standard tier will not provide day one access to games and specific entries to the catalog. For the aforementioned perks, as well as access to EA Play, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and discounts on games in the Game Pass library, Xbox console users will have to opt for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Microsoft appears to have taken a page out of EA’s book and molded its subscription service into one that more closely follows the EA Access model. After the restructured Xbox Game Pass tiers are in effect, there will be three game catalogs with varying degree of access to games depending on how much you choose to pay. The primary charm of Xbox Game Pass and its game catalog was day one access to all first-party and a decent serving of third-party games, and that has now become exclusive to the most expensive tier. It goes without saying that this change is undeniably the outcome of the software giant’s decision to make Call of Duty titles available day one on the service.

Adding further ambiguity to this change is Microsoft’s lack of clarification over the time period a game will remain exclusively available through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate after its launch. There is are no details on whether this will vary from game to game, or whether there will be a fixed delay for all day one releases to make their way to Xbox Game Pass Standard. For now, all we know is that they “may” be added to the latter tier’s library “at a future date”.

Ultimately, with this restructuring, Microsoft has stripped console Xbox Game Pass subscribers of choice, forcing them to reconsider the value proposition of the service. Meanwhile, those who aren’t interested in the Game Pass catalog to begin with will have no choice but to continue subscribing to Xbox Game Pass Core in order to retain the ability to play online.

Muhammad Ali Bari

Muhammad Ali Bari has a knack for covering reviews. He manages our content pipeline, creates timelines for scheduled editorial tasks, and helps us cover exciting content. In his spare time, he enjoys playing multiplayer games.

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