Microsoft’s supercharged Xbox subscription service will save me $5 every month, and I’m convinced that it’s the best deal in gaming right now

As an Xbox One owner, I was already paying $US20 per month for both Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold separately. Microsoft
  • For $US15 per month, the new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate combines Xbox Live Gold, the online membership service, and Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s video game subscription service for both Xbox and PC.
  • Current Live Gold and Game Pass subscribers can upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $US1, and all of their pre-paid months will be upgraded as well.
  • Separately, Xbox’s member services can cost up to $US25 per month. Xbox Live Gold is normally $US10 per month, or $US60 per year. Xbox Game Pass costs $US10 per month, or $US120 per year. Xbox Game Pass for PC is currently in Beta and costs $US5 a month.
  • Combining my previous Game Pass and Live subscriptions with Ultimate is saving me money, and as an added bonus, I get the PC version of Game Pass that lets me play dozens of games with my friends.
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Subscription services seem to be the next big thing for the video game industry, with tech giants like Google and Apple swooping in to offer premium gaming for a monthly price.

But even as the competition mounts, I’m convinced that Microsoft is offering the best deal in gaming with its newly released Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Game Pass Ultimate combines Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Game Pass, and Xbox Game Pass for PC at a discounted price of $US15 per month. Thanks to a limited-time deal, you can subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate for $US1 a month, and if you already have pre-paid months of Live Gold or Game Pass, they will automatically be upgraded to Game Pass Ultimate, saving you even more money in the months to come.

Microsoft introduced Game Pass in 2017 for $US10 per month, or $US120 per year. To help promote the service, Microsoft has been releasing its most-anticipated games for Game Pass subscribers the same day they go on sale. The Game Pass library has gradually grown to include more than 100 games, and Microsoft recently introduced a beta version of Game Pass for PC at $US5 per month.

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Xbox Live Gold is an essential service for most Xbox owners, since it’s needed to play multiplayer games online. It costs $US10 per month or $US60 for an annual subscription, and Live Gold subscribers receive two or three free games per month.

Arkham knight
‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ is one of the latest games to hit Xbox Game Pass. Rocksteady/Warner Bros. Interactive

As an Xbox One owner, I was already paying $US20 per month for both Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold separately, even though I play most of my games on PC. To be totally honest, I often let my Live Gold subscription expire for months when I’m not playing Xbox games online, just to try to skip the bill.

Now, I’m fully committed to Game Pass Ultimate, thanks to the combined value of the deal. Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • At $US15 per month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $US180 per year.
  • That’s the same price as a one-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold ($US60) and a full year of Game Pass ($US120).
  • The added bonus comes from Game Pass for PC, currently a $US5 per month subscription that will likely increase to $US10 when the beta phase is over, based on Microsoft’s suggested retail price.
Forza Horizon 4
‘Forza Horizon 4’ launched on Game Pass in September 2018. Playground Games/Microsoft Studios

Even before Microsoft revealed Game Pass for PC, I was using the original Game Pass to play awesome games like “Forza Horizon 4,” “Wargroove,” and “Gears of War 4” with friends on both PC and Xbox. Game Pass for PC is bringing dozens of new games to the table, so it will be even easier for my friends and me to have multiplayer sessions without investing a bunch of money in new games or figuring out which ones we already share.

Here’s an easy example of how Game Pass can come in handy: When “Crackdown 3” released in February, my friend paid $US1 for a one-month Game Pass trial just to play through the game with me. We shared a seamless co-op experience, even though was he playing on PC, and I was playing on Xbox One.

If you’re already paying for Xbox Live Gold, upgrading to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will give you a massive library of games to play whenever you want, and you’ll be able to download many of Microsoft’s newest titles the same day they hit stores.

Of course, not everyone has the time to try dozens of different games, but if you’re ever looking for something to play, Game Pass offers the best deal in gaming, on both Xbox and PC.