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Is Xbox Game Pass worth the money?

We understand that you're going to be wary of new subscription fees, so we've broken down the Game Pass costs to show you whether or not it's worth it.

Xbox Game Pass image showing the console and various games.

Is Xbox Game Pass worth it? XGP has now been around for half a decade and it looks like it’s here to stay. But is it worth the money? Sure, games may be expensive and this saves you having to fork out huge swathes when big new games come out (well, sometimes anyway), but subscriptions are expensive too. Is it actually any more cost-effective? Or, in a worst-case scenario, does it actually cost more than just buying the games that you want?

Well, the answer is going to be different for everyone (if you barely play an hour a week, for example, it probably won’t be worth it), but generally speaking, we reckon most gamers are going to get a lot out of it. If you check out our Xbox Game Pass list, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the service (which encompasses many of the best Xbox Series X games), but we wanted to offer a more granular analysis of it for you too, so we’ve got a more detailed overview and some cost analysis for you.

Xbox Game Pass prices

There are three different Game Pass plans which are each priced as follows:

Game Pass Ultimate gives you access to a selection of Xbox and PC games, as well as certain special deals within the Microsoft Store, and access to the service EA Play (another gaming subscription). This one costs a bit more for covering both PC and console games libraries, but if think of it like this. It’ll cost you $179.88/£131.88 per month. If you buy three triple-A games on launch in a year, that’ll cost you more.

PC Games Pass, as you can imagine, cannot be used on your Xbox Series X, but it will give you a hefty library of games to play on PC. Check out the PC Game Pass games list on our sister site, PCGamesN, for an idea of the games included in this service. Like Game Pass Ultimate, it also gives you access to EA Play, and at $119.88/£95.88 a year, it’ll be less than buying just two triple-A releases in the span of twelve months.

Console Game Pass works out the same as PC Games Pass in pricing, though it doesn’t include access to EA Play. This isn’t a problem though because there are plenty of fantastic games included in its selection anyway.

Xbox Game Pass games laid out, including Rare Replay, Mass Effect, Psychonauts 2, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizon 5, and more.

Best Game Pass Games

The games included in the service are going to be the biggest selling point for most of our readers, so we thought we’d break it down by genre and give you an idea of what you can expect in your area of interest.

Action adventure games on Game Pass

Love a bit of action? Any of these games will serve you well:

  • Sea of Thieves
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Ninja Gaiden 3
  • No Man’s Sky

RPGs on Game Pass

If you enjoy getting caught up in the finely woven storylines of Xbox RPG games, you’ll be glad that all the following are on Game Pass:

  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
  • Fable III
  • Fallout 3
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Ni No Kuni II Revenant Kingdom

Shooting games

Fancy blasting a few foes in free shooting games? These are all on Game Pass:

  • Goldeneye 007
  • Halo 3
  • Doom Eternal
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction
  • Perfect Dark

Platforming games

The formative gaming genre has some pretty decent representation in the Game Pass library, including:

  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Psychonauts
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
  • Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition
  • Super Lucky’s Tale

Life sim games

Want to chill out with a virtual life that’s more relaxed than your real one? These games will hit the spot:

  • Viva Piñata
  • Stardew Valley
  • Farming Simulator 22
  • Minecraft
  • Forager

We hope that illustrates the diversity of the Game Pass library. Really, we’ve barely scratched the surface of a selection that encompasses Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, Gears 5, Dead Cells, Plants vs Zombies, Rare Replay, Terrarria, and so much more.

Xbox Game Pass launch games: Atomic Heart. Image shows two robots holding hands.

Launch day Game Pass releases

If a game is developed by one of the many studios held under the Microsoft Studios umbrella, it’ll be available on Game Pass day one. Considering how many developers Microsoft has in its stable, that’s a lot of games – and they’re not the only ones that get added day one, either. Here are a few examples of games that came to Game Pass at launch:

  • Forza Horizon 5
  • Halo Infinite
  • Atomic Heart
  • Minecraft Dungeons
  • Gears Tactics
  • Back 4 Blood

When you consider how much you’d spend paying to get these games on their release date, it’s clear that Xbox Game Pass is a much more cost-effective way to stay up with all the latest games – and that’s without mentioning everything else on there that you’ll gain access too.

Xbox Game Pass deals

Do you have Xbox Live Gold? Once upon a time, it was possible to get three years of Game Pass for $1, and while that particular deal is no longer active, you can still get that length of time while only paying for one month’s worth. So how does it work?

Well, if you pay for Game Pass when you have Xbox Live Gold, your account is updated so that you’ll have Game Pass access until your Gold plan expires. Since the maximum length of time that you can pre-pay for Xbox Live Gold is three years, you can then have that upgraded so that you’ll have Game Pass access for the whole time. Of course, you do have to pay for Xbox Live Gold, but you’re still making a pretty substantial saving.

Final verdict on Xbox Game Pass

All in all, we think that Game Pass is a really great services and part of what makes the Xbox Series X one of the best gaming consoles. It’ll mean you never run out of games to play, and it provides an easy way to experiment with games you’re curious about. Meanwhile, when games are available on launch day, you’ll be able to take part in the hype surrounding the release, without having to fork out a fortune. We know that some gamers will never move beyond liking to buy and own their games, but we reckon for the vast majority of gamers, Game Pass will very much be something they’ll enjoy. You can also read our Xbox Game Pass Ultimate review for more of our thoughts on this service.