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What is Game Pass Ultimate: Here’s everything you need to know

The Xbox Series X and Series S consoles will look to win the battle against Sony on the back of Game Pass. So, what is it?

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What is Game Pass Ultimate?

Imagine you didn't have to buy games for your Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S or Xbox One consoles or even your PC. What if, instead, you paid a flat monthly subscription rate to access and play over 100 top games at your leisure without paying any additional fees? That's the concept behind Microsoft's Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate services.

However, it's about a lot more than just playing games. Game Pass gives you access to additional services, benefits and rewards that you can utilise over the entire Xbox ecosystem.

Xbox Series X pre-order guide

How much does Game Pass cost?

There are two variants of Game Pass in Australia. The Game Pass basic plan for either Xbox or PC costs $10.95 per month. The Game Pass Ultimate, which includes both PC and Xbox in the one purchase, is $15.95 per month.

Is there a Game Pass free trial?

There isn't a completely free trial, but you do get your first month for just $1 and you can cancel at any time. As a result, you can definitely trial Game Pass for next-to-nothing to see if it's right for you.

What games are available on Game Pass?

Microsoft is always adding new games to Game Pass and occasionally rotating some titles off the service. At the time of writing, over 150 titles can be accessed through the program. For more specific details, read up on the full list of Game Pass games.

Game Pass vs Game Pass Ultimate

So, what do you get for the extra $5 per month it costs to upgrade from Game Pass to Game Pass Ultimate? A heck of a lot of extra value! Namely, you get Xbox Live Gold, which normally costs $10.95 per month on its own. Xbox Live Gold gets you access to three free games a month, exclusive deals and, most importantly, online multiplayer.

Here is a comparison of the features offered by Game Pass vs Game Pass Ultimate.

Feature Game Pass Ultimate Game Pass PC Game Pass Xbox
Price $15.95/month $10.95/month $10.95/month
Access to hundreds of Xbox games Yes No Yes
Access to hundreds of PC games Yes Yes No
Free first-party games on launch day Yes Yes Yes
Online multiplayer Yes Yes Yes
EA Play Yes Yes No
Xbox Live Gold Yes No No
Exclusive Deals Yes Yes Yes
Exclusive Perks Yes No No
xCloud Yes No No
Xbox Game Pass Mobile App Yes Yes Yes

What does EA Play bring to Xbox Game Pass?

One of the big announcements ahead of the launch of the Xbox Series X console was the addition of EA Play, for free, to the Game Pass Ultimate and Game Pass PC services. EA Play is a like-minded service to Game Pass but is targeted to massive third-party publisher EA's roster of titles. As an EA Play member, you get the following:

  • Free access to over 40 EA games, including franchises like Battlefield, Anthem, Mass Effect, FIFA, Need for Speed, Star Wars: Battlefront and UFC.
  • 10-hour trials of the latest releases and upcoming games
  • Exclusive in-game challenges and rewards
  • Member-only content

Usually EA Play costs $6.99 per month or $39.99 per year. However, it comes at no extra cost in Game Pass.

Is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate worth it?

Absolutely. In fact, such is the content and the scale of the benefits provided by a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, we'd consider it a must-own service for Xbox gamers. We'd go one step further and say it could also be a deciding factor for many gamers in what console to choose. Sony doesn't have a like-for-like competing service.

Is Game Pass Ultimate coming to Xbox Series X?

Yes! In fact, it's arguably the biggest selling point for the console when compared against the PlayStation 5.

What formats is Game Pass compatible with?

You only have to purchase Game Pass Ultimate once, but you can access it through all the devices in the Xbox ecosystem. This includes the new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles as well as all the devices in the Xbox One family. Xbox games that are also available on PC can be played on PC through your Game Pass Ultimate subscription, too.

You can also log in to Game Pass via your mobile; however, Microsoft has yet to branch into providing mobile games through the service. This is a feature we do expect in the future.

Xbox Game Pass vs Xbox Live Gold

At first glance, these two services may seem awfully similar. They both offer free games and member discounts after all. However, Xbox Live Gold also unlocks online multiplayer on the Xbox consoles.

As a result, if you just want online multiplayer, you can stick with Xbox Live Gold and get three free titles a month as selected by Microsoft through Games with Gold. However, if you want a library of over one hundred titles, including all new first-party games on the day of launch, you need Game Pass.

The best option, however, is to get Game Pass Ultimate. This combines both services into one, and also adds in other bonuses as detailed above.

Does Game Pass cancel Gold?

It depends on which plan you get. Buying the Game Pass basic plan does not cancel your Gold subscription. However, if you buy Game Pass Ultimate, your existing Gold subscription is automatically upgraded to the new service. As such, Game Pass Ultimate replaces Xbox Live Gold on your console.

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