Microsoft announces Xbox Game Pass price increases and other changes

Posted on July 11, 2024

Microsoft has announced sweeping changes to its Xbox Game Pass service, including the retirement of Xbox Game Pass for Console in place of the new Xbox Game Pass Standard tier. Subscribers to all tiers of Xbox Game Pass can also expect to pay more for their subscriptions going forward.

As first reported by Windows Central and subsequently confirmed by Microsoft itself in an FAQs page, the Xbox Game Pass for Console tier is being closed off for new users, and existing subscribers can no longer renew their subscriptions. A new Xbox Game Pass Standard tier is being introduced to replace it. This tier is similar to the basic Xbox Game Pass for Console tier, however it notably will not include day-one releases. Games which release day-one on other tiers will be added to the Standard tier at later dates. It also doesn’t include Xbox Cloud Gaming; you’ll need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to access that. Strangely, the PC Game Pass tier will reportedly continue to receive day-one releases, unlike its console counterpart.

Another important change that will be incoming is a price hike for all tiers of Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass Core, the most basic tier offering online play and slightly over 2 dozen downloadable games, will be increasing by $10 AUD per year. PC Game Pass is increasing by $3 AUD per month. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is going up by a $4 AUD per month. Finally, while the Xbox Game Pass Standard tier doesn’t have official pricing yet, it has a placeholder price of $14.99 USD per month, which is $4 USD more than the Xbox Game Pass for Console tier that it is replacing.

These changes are perhaps not too surprising. With video streaming services hiking their own prices and including ad-supported tiers to increase revenue, it has become increasingly apparent that it is challenging to make subscription services profitable. With Microsoft having recently spent literally billions on pricey acquisitions in recent years, it has a lot of money that it needs to make back. With hotly anticipated titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 being day-one Game Pass releases, making it available only to those who are paying for the pricier subscriptions is certainly one way to encourage players to either buy the game outright or pay extra for an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

The pricing changes have taken effect from July 10th 2024 onwards for new member subscriptions. The Xbox Game Pass Standard tier will be introduced “in the coming months“, according to Microsoft.