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Xbox Game Pass: Everything You Need To Know

Xbox Game Pass is a great service for gamers anywhere. So what is it, what does it offer, and how does it compare to the freshly revamped PlayStation Plus?

What is Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass is a monthly subscription service. Depending on the level of membership you select, it offers benefits such as online multiplayer, free monthly games, exclusive benefits and discounts. Plus the option to play across both Xbox consoles and PC.

There are two levels of Game Pass:

Game Pass: Console/PC | $12.95/month

  • Play over 100 high-quality console games on console
  • New games added all the time
  • Xbox Game Studios titles the same day as release
  • Member discounts and deals
  • PC version comes with EA Play (exclusive EA games, rewards and content)

Game Pass: Ultimate | $19.95/month

  • Play over 100 high-quality games on console, PC and mobile devices
  • New games added all the time
  • Xbox Game Studios titles the same day as release
  • Exclusive member discounts and deals
  • Play games from the cloud
  • Free Perks including in-game content and partner offers
  • EA Play (exclusive EA games, rewards and content)
  • Includes Xbox Live Gold, including: Deals with Gold, Games with Gold and console multiplayer

However, the basic level doesn’t include Xbox Live Gold, which is required if you want to play online:

Xbox Live Gold | $12.95/month

  • Multiplayer
  • Two free games per month
  • Game discounts and free-play days

Xbox Live Gold vs. Game Pass

Xbox Live Gold

This is where it can be a little confusing. Xbox Live Gold is the subscription service required to play online multiplayer. It’s an essential service for most gamers, as gaming is increasingly online. Think mega-hits like FIFA, Call of Duty, GTA Online, Minecraft and more. These games all benefit from playing with and against players from all over the world.

To do so, you’ll need Xbox Live. Otherwise, you can still play all your favourite games. But you’ll be playing them by yourself. And while it does include two free games each month, its main purpose is the online gaming aspect.

Xbox Game Pass

Game Pass, on the other hand, does not include online multiplayer. Instead, it offers a constantly evolving library of free games for you to download and play, along with exclusive member discounts, benefits, free in-game content and more.

There are actually two options for Game Pass – Game Pass: Console and Game Pass: PC

As the name suggests, the service is the same for both except one is for your Xbox console (providing hundreds of free-to-play Xbox games) while the other is for PC, which can be used by logging into your Microsoft account.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the perfect subscription for those that want the full experience. It is essentially a discounted package for both Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass. Giving you all the benefits of both. That means hundreds of free-to-play games, and the option to play them with players all over the world through online play. Notably, it gives you Game Pass for both console and PC, as well as mobile.

One big benefit exclusive to Game Pass Ultimate is cloud gaming. While Game Pass gives you access to plenty of free games, you have to download them to play. With Game Pass Ultimate, you can skip the install, save space, and play them straight from the cloud. This will, of course, require a good internet connection to provide a seamless experience.

It also includes EA Play, which is included in Game Pass: PC.

→Related article: Best Broadband Plans to Keep Up with your Gaming Needs

What games are included in Xbox Game Pass?

There are hundreds upon hundreds of games available on Xbox Game Pass. These include many high-profile games, that you would not typically associate with ‘free’ games. You can even play Microsoft’s iconic Xbox exclusive Halo Series, including the latest game, Halo Infinite.

It’s worth noting that some games are only available to play on Xbox, some are available exclusively on PC, and some can be played on either. While certain titles are only available through EA play (which is only included on the PC version of Game Pass or Game Pass: Ultimate).

So if there is a specific game you are excited to play, be sure to visit the Xbox website to see what playing options you have.

Notable games* (in alphabetical order) include:

  • Age of Empires Series
  • Among Us
  • Assassin’s Creed Origin
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battlefield series
  • DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2
  • DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age
  • Doom series
  • The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion & V Skyrim
  • Fable Anniversary, Fable II, Fable III
  • Fallout series
  • Far Cry 5
  • FIFA 22
  • Final Fantasy XIII
  • Football Manager 22
  • Forza Horizon 5

  • Gears of War Series
  • Hades
  • Halo series
  • Madden NFL 22
  • Mass Effect series
  • Minecraft
  • NBA 2K22
  • Need for Speed series
  • Octopath Traveller
  • Ori
  • Overcooked! 2
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Skate series
  • Stardew Valley
  • STAR WARS Battlefront & Battlefront II
  • STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Wolfenstein series (PC only)
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

*Titles listed are a selection of games available at the time of writing and certain games may no longer be available. For a full list of  titles currently available, as well as new titles coming soon, visit xbox.com

How does the Xbox Game Pass compare to the new PlayStation Plus

For many, this comparison will be somewhat redundant. As PlayStation and Xbox both have their die-hard fans, who have spent the last decade or more exclusively sticking to their choice of console. For newer or more casual gamers, with no particular alliance, or for extra hardcore gamers that have every console under the sun, it may be more useful.

The PlayStation Plus membership has three tiers and in many ways is similar to Xbox Game Pass. However, it’s worth noting that all tiers of PlayStation Plus include Online multiplayer. Unlike Xbox Game Pass which only includes it under the basic Xbox Live Gold package or the Xbox Game Pass: Ultimate package.

The three tiered memberships are:

PlayStation Plus Essential

Cost: 1 month $11.95 / 3 months $33.95 ($11.32/m) / 12 months $79.95 ($6.66/m)

Provides exactly the same benefits as the old PlayStation Plus membership, for around the same price:

  • Monthly downloadable games*
  • Exclusive discounts
  • Cloud storage for saved games
  • Online multiplayer access

PlayStation Plus Extra

Cost: 1 month $18.95 / 3 months $54.95 ($18.31/m) / 12 months $134.95 ($11.25/m)

  • Delivers all the same benefits as the Essential membership
  • Plus adds a library of up to 400 of the most enjoyable PS4 and PS5 games*

PlayStation Plus Premium

Cost: 1 month $21.95 / 3 months $63.95 ($21.31/m) / 12 months $154.95 ($12.91/m)

  • Provides all the benefits from Essential and Extra tiers
  • Catalogue of classic PlayStation, PS2 and PSP downloadable games*
  • Classic PS3 games to stream and play on PS4, PS5 and PC*
  • Time-limited game trials

*For further information on PlayStation Plus and the games available to play, click here.

Price

If you compare PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass purely on a monthly price, they are fairly comparable. For example, the bottom tier of each comes to:

  • PlayStation Plus Essential – $11.95 per month
  • Xbox Live Gold –$12.95 per month

while the top two tiers come out to:

  • PlayStation Plus Premium – $21.95 per month
  • Xbox Game Pass: Ultimate – $19.95 per month

However, when you factor in the annual payment option available on PlayStation Plus, it comes in significantly cheaper, with the basic plan coming in at almost half the price (just $6.66 per month).

Best broadband for your gaming needs

If you’re a gamer, you need a fast and reliable broadband provider that offers true value for money. And as broadband providers are always changing their plans and prices, you need to regularly shop around for the best deals. And that’s where Canstar Blue can help.

Every year we rate and reward providers on the satisfaction and service they deliver. We survey thousands of broadband customers and ask them to score their providers across categories including Value for Money, Network Performance and Customer Service.

Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ internet providers compares NOW, 2degrees, Contact, MyRepublic, Nova Energy, Orcon, Skinny, Slingshot, Spark, Trustpower and Vodafone and awards the best our 5-Star rating:

See Our Ratings Methodology

The table above is an abridged version of our full research, so to find out more about NZ’s best broadband providers, just click on the big button below:

Compare broadband providers for free with Canstar!


author andrew broadley

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.


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