Launched in 2017, Xbox One’s Game Pass service is one of the big reasons to buy the console, and could well point to the future of console gaming. Essentially, the Xbox Game Pass is a subscription-based service that grants you access to a huge library of games via the internet. You can play as many of the games included within the service as you like while your subscription is active.
Once you’ve signed up for a Xbox Game Pass subscription, you can browse the full catalogue of available games either online or directly in your Xbox One dashboard. Then, you simply need to install the ones you want to play, and they’ll play exactly the same way that they would had you bought a physical or digital copy.
The service is based on installations rather than streaming the games (in the same way that Netflix streams TV and film, or Spotify streams music). Microsoft have stated this is because of concerns about the reliability of internet connections to maintain game streams.
Xbox Game Pass is available as a 14-day free trial to all Xbox players. After that, it’s £7.99 a month.
Recently, we’ve spotted more Xbox bundles containing subscriptions to the Game Pass service, so keep an eye out if you’re buying a console! The official Xbox One “Starter Bundle” comes with 3 months of Game Pass membership and 3 months of Xbox Live Gold as standard.
There's a large library of games included with the Xbox Game Pass, and it’s only going to keep expanding. There’s a mix of classic titles and new games, with Microsoft aiming to release most Microsoft Studios games on to the service as they launch in classic physical and digital formats too. This means that the likes of Sea of Thieves was available as soon as it was released, and the same will be true of Forza Horizon 4.
You do not need Xbox Live Gold (Microsoft’s online multiplayer subscription) in order to access games via Game Pass. However, if you wish to play Game Pass games online against other players, you will require a Xbox Live Gold membership, just as you would for Xbox games you’ve bought.
One thing to note is that if your subscription expires, you will no longer be able to play any games you’ve installed via Xbox Game Pass. However, your installations and game data will remain intact on your Xbox, so you will be able to pick up where you left off by re-subscribing, provided the game is still part of the Xbox Game Pass service.
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