Subscription-based products in the gaming market are not a new thing. Almost every company is coming up with subscription services that provide a huge game library at an affordable price. A few of these subscription services include Ubisoft Plus subscription, EA Play, and Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass is undoubtedly the most value-for-money offering as it packs a lot more other than just a collection of games. However, in 2019, Microsoft launched the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This means potential Xbox Game Pass customers have two options these days. They can pick up the standard edition for $9.99 or go for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate that costs $14.99. But, is the Ultimate worth the 5$ premium? And, are the extra features of any use? We will find that out in this article.
What is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?
Well, to start, let us see what Xbox Game Pass is. It is a subscription-based service and provides a huge library of 100+ games that players can enjoy as long as they are subscribed or the game is available in the service. But, the Ultimate version packs two programs together: Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold. For quite some time, gamers have wanted a program that packs both of these services so that they don’t have to pay for the two of them separately. The Game Pass Ultimate is just more convenient for console players. Add to that, Xbox players also get the Xbox Game Pass for PC and access to EA Play along with an Ultimate subscription.
What is included in the Xbox Game Pass subscription?
The Game Pass library consists of several Xbox Series X and Series S games along with several older titles that are playable via backward compatibility. These titles include all of the first-party games published by Xbox Game Studios. Some of these titles are the Forza Horizon series, the Gears series, the Age of Empires series, and Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020). Besides the first-party games, the Game Pass subscription also includes several third-party titles like Back 4 Blood, A Plague Tale: Innocence, etc. These games are complemented by several indie titles.
Add to that, titles can be streamed from the cloud via the Xbox Game Streaming service aka Xcloud. This service was first introduced in September 2020. Players can stream these titles to a Microsoft Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, ChromeOS, or Linux device. While Android has a dedicated Xbox Game Pass app that handles the streaming, the rest of the platforms use browser-based streaming. Microsoft states that they have deployed Xbox Series X consoles in their server stations to handle Xcloud streaming. The streams are currently capped at 1080p 60fps.
Also, if a title supports Xbox Play Anywhere, it will unlock the game on all Microsoft platforms for free if you try it. That means, if you play a Play Anywhere-enabled title on your Xbox Series console, it will get unlocked on your Microsoft Windows device and vice-versa for no extra charge!
Xbox Game Pass for PC has a different library as compared to the one available for consoles. Some of the titles are available on both, so they cross over. But, some titles are exclusively available in the PC version of the subscription. These include Xbox Game Studios’ Age of Empires and Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020). Players with an Ultimate subscription also get 10% off on any game they purchase through the Xbox Store (on consoles) or the Microsoft Store (on PC).
What is Xbox Live Gold?
Xbox Live Gold is a subscription service that provides you with several perks. It is much like the PlayStation Plus subscription available for PlayStation players. Players get multiplayer access to every online game with this subscription. That means players cannot play multiplayer games on the Xbox without an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Live Gold players also get four free games every month. Two of these include Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S titles. These titles will no longer be available after the respective month is over. The other two titles include one from the original Xbox and one from the Xbox 360. Players can keep these titles forever, even after their Live Gold or Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions have expired.
Xbox Live Gold subscribers are also entitled to big discounts every week and good deals during special promotion periods like Black Friday, etc.
However, please note that Xbox Live Gold is available only on Xbox consoles. PC players cannot enjoy the Live Gold service even though they might have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
What is EA Play?
EA Play is the subscription service created and managed by the publishing studio Electronic Arts. Unlike Xbox Game Pass which includes titles from several developers, this subscription includes games developed or published by EA only. But, EA is a big studio, and they have published hundreds of games over the years. So, the subscription is filled with several great titles to try out. Some of these titles include the Crysis series, the Need for Speed series, the Battlefield series, and the FIFA series to name a few.
EA Play is the lower tier subscription that gives players access to the entire library of games that EA has already published. New games or the ones recently launched, can only be played for up to 10 hours with an EA Play subscription. After the 10 hours, players will either have to purchase the full game or upgrade to EA Play Pro. EA Play Pro is not available with the Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
Initially, only the console version of the Game Pass Ultimate subscription included EA Play. However, EA Play made it to Game Pass for PC in December 2020.
So, to sum up, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription provides you access to the Xbox Game Pass for console and PC and the Xbox Live Gold subscription under one manageable service. But on PC, the upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate does not make as much sense as you don’t have a program like Xbox Live Gold. Although with the addition of EA Play, Game Pass Ultimate has become a much more lucrative deal, Microsoft should introduce a Gold-equivalent service along with Game Pass for PC.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Availability
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is available in the following regions:
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
- United Kingdom (UK)
- United States of America (USA)
What Happens to Previous Subscriptions if you Upgrade to Ultimate?
When you upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, all previous subscriptions (including Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold) are automatically canceled. These subscriptions or any pre-paid codes are moved to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate according to the chart below.
|Token Name||Equivalent Ultimate Offering|
|1 month of Xbox Live Gold||20 days of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
|3 months of Xbox Live Gold||50 days of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (1+ month)|
|6 months of Xbox Live Gold||79 days of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (2+ months)|
|12 months of Xbox Live Gold||4 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
|24 months of Xbox Live Gold||8 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
|1 month of Xbox Game Pass (Console)||20 days of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
|3 months of Xbox Game Pass (Console)||2 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
|6 months of Xbox Game Pass (Console)||4 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
|12 months of Xbox Game Pass (Console)||5 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
|24 months of Xbox Game Pass (Console)||10 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
|1 month of Xbox Game Pass (PC)||20 days of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate|
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate takes the definition of value to the next level. With a single Ultimate subscription, you can control the Game Pass subscription, the Live Gold subscription, and the EA Play subscription together. At just $14.99, it is cheaper than even a Netflix subscription. Yet it packs content several times more than what Netflix has to offer.
Although the PC variant of the Game Pass Ultimate isn’t as value-for-money as the console variant, it still is much better than the competition. We definitely recommend the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate over any other video-game subscriptions.