So, for years, we have spent tons of money on video games. But, then Microsoft comes in and declares, “We are doing something different. We are copying Netflix.” Initially, it was great. You get a huge library worth thousands at your disposal. But, then came in Game Pass Ultimate, one subscription for everything Xbox, or better, everything Microsoft. Game Pass Ultimate was a well-thought move. You get Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold, and Game Pass for PC under one subscription. But instead, where you would have been spending 30 dollars for all of this, you just spend 15.
Now that is crazy! But, still. How does Microsoft convince you to spend the extra money? Well, they don’t need to. Look, Game Pass Ultimate is not a facelifted version of the standard game pass, much unlike modern smartphones where Pro and Ultra mean more. And Microsoft has no reason to shove their Ultimate plan at you for no reason.
Now, Microsoft has a wide variety of gamers. On one hand, you have PC gamers who have a completely different environment as compared to those on the Xbox. And they have three different plans that are meant for these different gamers. So, we have a list of what the Ultimate gives you as compared to the standard version, and we will also consider what platform you play on: Xbox or PC.
1. Games List
Game Pass for PC and console have different game libraries. Well, that was a pleasant surprise. But, if you dig deep, there is more. Look, for 489 (INR), you get the standard Game Pass for any one platform. And, for 699 (INR), you get Ultimate, which has them both. So, if you have both an Xbox and a gaming PC, Ultimate gives you more games to play. Well played, Microsoft! But, good luck affording both.
We would give it to the Ultimate, but do you see an incentive to spend more? Like, for the money you could build a PC or buy an Xbox console, you can buy hundreds of games, first-hand, for yours to keep forever. We think this is a draw, the only perk with Ultimate has a very limited audience.
2. Xbox Live Gold
This is the PS Plus of Xbox. You get multiplayer access and four free games every month for $9.99 or 489 rupees, and you guessed it right, Live Gold is an Xbox-only service. You don’t need it on a PC (another reason to join the Master Race).
There are 1.5 billion PC gamers as compared to the paltry 47 million who own an Xbox One or Series. So, most of the players who will buy Game Pass won’t be interested in Live Gold. So, if you are an Xbox player interested in multiplayer gaming, we will give it to the Ultimate, and for PC, the standard is for the win. Take the $5 discount if you are on PC.
3. Game Discounts
Both of the subscriptions have the same model. From Day 1 to Day 30, you get no discount on it. From Day 31 to 90, you get up to 10% off, and from Day 91 onwards, you get up to 20% off. Now, this is probably the sweetest of all the perks available with Game Pass. Okay, so this is a draw, right? For PC gamers, yes. For Xbox gamers, there’s more to it.
Look, Game Pass Ultimate also packs Live Gold on consoles. And that service also packs discounts every week and huge deals during special promotion periods like Black Friday. And Game Pass Ultimate combines the 20% off program along with what Live Gold has to offer. So, for PC gamers, I will give it a draw. And for console, the Ultimate must get it here.
What is that X-factor that makes Ultimate different? It is Perks. These range from collectibles to in-game skins and weapon packs to even subscription services like three months of Discord Nitro, YouTube Premium, and 75 days of Crunchyroll Premium which is a wide collection of anime. It has like 30,000 episodes I guess.
Just for a bit of context here, YouTube Premium costs $11.99 a month. So, that would almost cost you $36. And, both Discord Nitro and Crunchyroll Premium Mega Fan also cost $9.99 a month. Now, all of this is insane value. But, there is a catch.
Websites like Best Buy already give free YouTube premium for three months and don’t need to pay anything for that. Also, you need to be first-time subscribers to each of these plans which means if you had subscribed to any of these before, you can’t claim them. But yeah, the in-game items and skin packs are truly exclusive.
Oh, and the best part: guess how many of these you would get with the Standard Edition of Game Pass? 0. I will give this to the Ultimate on both the Xbox and PC.
5. Android Gaming
With Game Pass Ultimate you get to play games on Xbox Series X via cloud gaming. Although this service is available in just 26 countries, you can get into it via VPN. We tried it in India where it isn’t available yet. While using VPN is an option, the nearest servers are in South Korea. Resolution drops and latency make this an almost-unplayable experience. I won’t recommend Xbox Cloud Gaming unless you live in the supported countries.
Okay, now for the verdict. Xbox Cloud Gaming plays great in supported countries, and let’s be honest. It needs a good 5GHz connection which isn’t cheap. Also, gameplay on 4G sucks, so you need 5G if you are planning to play on cellular. And we all know the situation of 5G these days. But the fact that you can jump right in and play games on an Xbox Series X without any downloads is awesome. We are giving this to the Ultimate.
6. EA Play
EA Play is a subscription-based service containing several games published by EA. Although EA is hated for its “awesome” business model these days, they still publish some great games like Jedi Fallen Order and It Takes Two. And you get access to several of these great games from the past with EA Play. Pretty great! I would pay for it!
But, the weird thing is that the standard edition of Xbox Game Pass does not contain EA Play while the standard edition of PC Game Pass includes it. Ultimate includes it on both of the platforms, so if you are an Xbox gamer, Ultimate is the way to go. The number of titles you get to try with EA Play is worth the extra money. So, we will give it to the Standard edition for PC and Ultimate for Xbox.
If you are a PC gamer, and unless you want to try Android Gaming, which is still in beta, get the Standard Edition of the PC game pass. It makes more sense.
If you are an Xbox gamer, and you play multiplayer titles, get the Game Pass Ultimate. It will save you a lot of money. If you don’t care about online games, still get Ultimate. EA Play has a lot more content to try out. It will be more value-for-money. If you play on both a gaming PC and an Xbox, Ultimate is your way to go.