We knew it was too good to be true. Change is coming for Xbox and PC Game Pass subscribers, as the service is due its first big price increase next month – jumping up from £10.99 to £12.99 in the UK – and leading some gamers to wonder, is it all worth it?
To soften the blow, Microsoft has just announced a new, Core tier, which replaces Xbox Live Gold and grants access to multiplayer experiences, as well as a list of 25 Game Pass titles to get stuck into, all for $9.99 a month, which we can probably expect for around £6.99.
The service has nearly 500 games available across Xbox, PC and Cloud, including most first party titles, so what is there to complain about in terms of value for money? We put the service to the test and see if it’s still the best deal in gaming. You can share your own musings on our Discord.
Game Over: It’s not worth it | James Parry
While I’m not personally about to cancel Game Pass anytime soon – though I really thought twice when it came around for annual renewal last month and found that there was basically no way to pay for anything less than Ultimate if you want to use it on Xbox – I’m not sure this new offer is giving you the same level of value for money, making it increasingly hard to recommend as a service.
Subscription services make money, and everyone knows it. Getting people to forget they need to cancel is how they keep your money, and sending emails talking about how prices are “updating” rather than “increasing” and don’t remind you just how much you are paying today make it all sound a bit too reasonable.
It’s not a huge increase, and if you are paying annually it might save you a bit of course, but if you are paying monthly that’s now about £156 a year instead of £132, so even with increasing prices of games, you might expect another mid-sized game (like the underrated Hi-Fi Rush) or reasonable expansion to one of Xbox’s on-going experiences, like Sea of Thieves – which happens to have a Legend of Monkey Island-themed update on the way.
Whether Xbox can keep up the momentum of “newness” though, seems unlikely given the form they’ve been having recently. Even with an eye-watering 23 studios under their belt, and potentially more to come if the Activision Blizzard merger goes through, you’d think they could manage a first party game every couple of months, but in fact it’s more like one every six months, as gamers demand more complexity and fidelity from their games and development times increase to follow suit.
Xbox really needs Starfield to knock it into another galaxy, as they have little else to write home about on the slate for the rest of this year, though 2024 has plenty up its sleeve as some of the bigger studio acquisitions start to bear fruit.
There’s still hope for this price hike to prove it’s worth its salt, but for now an increase just before Starfield means they are definitely expecting a subscriber boost. Time will tell whether they stick around.