A quick and dirty guide to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

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Xbox Game Pass might be the thing that convinces users to go all in the Xbox Series X. With the next generation of consoles just a few weeks away, people are frothing to get their hands on the new hardware but, as with most new console launches, there aren’t really that many games to go around. That’s a problem Microsoft is hoping to address with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a service that providers subscribers access to a library of over a hundred games for an exceptionally low price of R150 a month. It sounds like a pretty sweet deal so let’s unpack what you’re actually getting out of it.

While it’s very easy to say that Xbox Game Pass is just Netflix for games, it’s… actually no that’s almost exactly what it is. Users pay their monthly subscription and gain access to an expansive library that they can peruse and consume at their will. You’ll still need to download the games, this isn’t one of those fancy (but not actually that good) game streaming services like Google Stadia, which is just fine by us with our less than stellar internet connections in South Africa.

Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass the buck

Okay, so how much is getting in on Xbox Game Pass going to set you back? Well, there are three options available. You can either purchase Game Pass for either your Xbox console or PC for R99 a month or you could go all in on Game Pass Ultimate and pay R150 for access on both consoles and PC. Beyond the dual-platforms there’s a bunch of smaller incentives for Game Pass Ultimate that justify the extra R50 a month which really isn’t much more of an ask.

Game Pass Ultimate gets you everything in the standard R99 deal but you also nab exclusive member discounts, free perks like in-game content and unique partner offers and, most importantly, you’ll also grab Xbox Live Gold which usually requires a R99 a month subscription. Xbox Live Gold has been around for years but throwing it in with Game Pass Ultimate means users get Deals with Gold, Games with Gold and console multiplayer all wrapped up in a neat little package.

If you ask us, that’s some ridiculously good value right there, even if you’re not taking in account the fact that your first month will only cost you R15.

Okay, so let’s talk about games…

Yes, straight to the point! That’s what I like about you, reader. Cutting to the heart of the matter! So before getting in on Game Pass you need to understand two things. Firstly, as mentioned above, you’ll still need to download all the games you want to play, which isn’t too much of an issue if you’ve got the hard drive space to spare and you’re at least a little selective with what you want to play.

The other big thing to remember is that you don’t actually own of the games you’re playing. Just like Netflix, you’re paying to access the library, not buy everything on it. What this means is that if, for whatever reason, you opt to cancel your Game Pass subscription you’ll lose access to all those games you’ve been playing. Just worth keeping in mind, I guess.

With those two caveats out of the way, let’s talk about what games you can expect from Game Pass. Microsoft has been able to wrangle it that games published by the company or developed by Xbox Game Studios launch directly onto Game Pass day one. Thus, Halo: Infinite will hit Game Pass and you’ll be able to play it at launch without having to pay extra. Same thing happened with Gears 5 next year.

Let’s just take a look at some of the stand-out games on the service: Nier: Automata, Red Dead Redemption 2, The Outer Worlds, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, Batman: Arkham Knight, Celeste and so many more. There’s a solid mix of smaller indie titles and big AAA blockbuster titles. There’s a little something for everyone!

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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