Microsoft’s Game Pass has become the center of its video game strategy. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the subscription is armed against the transformations of the market. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate was already pretty plump and quickly became a staple for many gamers. It now includes a catalog of games on PC, on Xbox, in the cloud, but also access to multiplayer gaming, access to the EA Play catalog and some additional benefits.
Unfortunately, we mainly benefit from the Game Pass Ultimate in solo. If the members of the household each have their own PC, for example, it is impossible to benefit from their subscription without connecting their own Microsoft account. A bit frustrating when SVOD or music streaming services often offer family subscriptions to share.
Microsoft is launching a test of a new package more expensive than Game Pass Ultimate and shareable. The idea had been rumored for several months. It is currently limited to Ireland and Colombia, but it should soon arrive in other regions.
Like Microsoft 365, this new subscription makes it easy to share your subscription with four other Microsoft accounts. They will each have the same benefits individually as if they had subscribed to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate alone. Enough to allow everyone to manage their game saves, their PC Game Pass or their list of favorites as they see fit. Above all, with cloud gaming available on phones and tablets, one can easily imagine creating multiplayer sessions at home without the need for multiple Xboxes. Many multiplayer games do not offer local single-console split-screen multiplayer. We also think of competitive team games like Fall Guys, where a family could create their own team, even if the latter is not offered in Microsoft’s service.
A new price
Since the service is available for testing in Ireland, it is possible to get a first idea of the price of this family plan. Microsoft currently markets it at 21.99 euros per month, compared to 12.99 for the current Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. If you already have subscription months stored in your account, Microsoft applies a simple proration from the old subscription to the new one. Three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at 12.99 euros per month will allow you, for example, to access just under two months of the new family plan.
It should also be noted that this means that the “trick” which allows access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at half price does not work with this new service. One wonders if Microsoft will not put an end to this trick when this new plan is available. However, unlike Netflix, Microsoft doesn’t seem to put a focus restriction on subscription. In other words, it should be possible to split the bill between members, even if they do not live in the same household. Microsoft also mentions the possibility of sharing it with friends, and not just family.
As mentioned above, this test is limited to Colombia and Ireland for the moment. On its official blog, Microsoft notes several known bugs with this new service. For example, an Xbox player who already has an active subscription cannot accept an invitation to a family plan.