As Xbox Game Pass approaches its sixth anniversary, it's fair to say the video game subscription service has earned itself a respectable reputation. Microsoft's cheap approach to offering a Netflix-style game service is arguably one of, if not the biggest selling point for picking up an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. Many people refer to it as the "best deal in gaming" for a reason, after all. Does that statement ring true today, however? Is Xbox Game pass worth it in 2023?
This year is different, however. As the cost of living crunch continues to bite, gaming is becoming ever more a luxury - not helped by Microsoft's decision to raise the price of Xbox first-party titles from $59.99 to $69.99 in 2023. That's a big jump and one that will make lots of us think twice before purchasing a brand-new release on launch day. That's why finding one of the best Xbox Game Pass Ultimate prices amid increased competition from Sony and Nintendo can make a huge difference.
Xbox Game Pass (console): $9.99 / $7.99 (opens in new tab)
Xbox Game Pass (PC): $9.99 / £7.99 (opens in new tab)
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: $14.99 / £10.99 (opens in new tab)
At an entry price of $9.99 / £7.99 a month, the subscription is reasonably affordable compared to many other gaming or streaming services out there. With upwards of a reported 25 million subscribers, Xbox Game Pass has grown exponentially, jumping by seven million from 2021 to 2022. But does its price or increased popularity warrant a subscription, though? Is simply being cheap enough to jump on the Xbox Game Pass bandwagon? As PlayStation bolsters PS Plus and the concerns over Xbox exclusives continue to loom, is Xbox Game Pass worth it in 2023? Let's take a look.
How much does Xbox Game Pass cost in 2023?(opens in new tab)
Simply put, an Xbox Game Pass subscription is priced across console and PC at $9.99 / £7.99 a month (opens in new tab). However, Microsoft also offers a $1 / £1 entry point (opens in new tab) for the first month of the PC tier. This gives you access to hundreds of video games on each specific platform, member discounts, and most enticing of all, access to Xbox Game Studio titles the same day as release. EA Play is also included for no additional fee.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate combines the console and PC tiers with Xbox Gold (worth $9.99 / £6.99) at $14.99 / £10.99 a month (opens in new tab). Again a $1 / £1 offer (opens in new tab) is also available to test out the most lucrative tier for the first month.
We've made an Xbox Game Pass explainer guide with all of the tiers broken down if you're looking for further information about each.
What games are worth playing on Xbox Game Pass?(opens in new tab)
Going into 2023, there has been fair criticism of Microsoft's lack of first-party games in recent years, something that Xbox chief Phil Spencer addressed in October 2022. The likes of Grounded, Pentiment, and As Dusk Falls have proven to be few and far between from fans' expectations. So what's 2023 got planned for Xbox Game Pass?
Well, the year has already kicked off with the fantastic Hi-Fi Rush, a rhythm-based action that shadow-dropped on January 25th, 2023. We then have Redfall, Forza Motorsport, and what is arguably one of the biggest releases of the calendar year in Starfield. On top of this, there's Age of Empires IV, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, Hollow Knight: Silksong, Lies of P, Replaced, Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl, all scheduled for 2023.
This doesn't even take into account the plethora of third-party games at your disposal by signing up. EA Play alone grants you access to FIFA, Madden, Mass Effect, It Takes Two, Star Wars, Burnout, and Titanfall among others. More recently, Persona 3, Persona 4, Monster Hunter Rise, Goldeneye 007, High on Life, and Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga all joined the line-up and are likely to be present for the full year.
In total, there's always a guarantee to be more than 300 games, so you'll never run out of options. All in all, Xbox could be poised for one of its best years in recent history.
How does PlayStation Plus and Nintendo Switch Online compare?
The new PS Plus tiers - Essential, Extra, and Premium - present another conundrum for consumers. At $9.99 / £6.99 a month for the cheapest tier (Essential), you do get significantly less for your cash, in comparison to Game Pass. This gives you access to online play, a number of PS5, PS4, or PSVR titles every month as well as exclusive discounts on the PS Store, but it doesn't give you access to any of Sony's first-party titles on release - and neither do any of the other tiers.
PS Plus Extra costs $14.99 / £10.99 (opens in new tab) a month, offering the same suite of content as Extra but with a catalog of almost 400 games across PS5 and PS4. Finally, the PS Plus Premium tier costs $17.99 / £13.49, which encompasses all of the previous tier's offerings as well as PS3 game streaming, time-limited game trials, and access to classic PS1, PS2, and PSP games.
Naturally, this can all come down to personal preference between Xbox and PlayStation's offerings but look specifically at price makes it quite interesting. As there is no official annual subscription for Xbox Game Pass, a standard subscription is priced at $119.88 / £95.88 per year and an Ultimate is $179.88 / £131.88 per year. PS Plus offers quarterly and yearly subscriptions with the top tier coming in at $99.99 / £83.99 (opens in new tab), a saving of $80.88 / £47.89 in comparison. As you are paying for $70 new releases on top of that, Xbox Game Pass does still come out on top in our books.
On the other hand, a Nintendo Switch Online membership is available for $3.99 / £3.49 per month or $19.99 / £17.99 (opens in new tab) per year. This gives you access to online play, data cloud saves, certain freebies, and the ability to play NES and SNES games.
By upgrading to Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack at $49.99 / £34.99 (opens in new tab), you also get a handful of N64 and Sega Genesis titles as well as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Splatoon 2 DLC. It's the cheapest of the lot for a reason, only really beneficial to those that were looking to pick up the DLC separately. Many people consider this as an add-on, more than a competitor to PlayStation and Xbox but again if money is a factor, Xbox comes out on top again for value.
Is Xbox Game Pass worth it in 2023 for the price?(opens in new tab)
Xbox Game Pass is absolutely worth the money if you are gaming on a budget. By simply picking up one of the best Xbox Series X deals or finding one of the best Xbox Series S prices or bundles you then only need to pay $9.99 / £7.99 a month to gain access to the latest games from Microsoft's first-party studios and hundreds of games that are constantly refreshed.
If you have access to larger funds and enjoy a balance of console and PC gaming, then Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the right way to go at $14.99 / £10.99 (opens in new tab) per month. By opting for this, you even get the freedom to stream via the cloud or play on mobile with further free perks and offers. It's all about versatility. Simply put, if you are dedicated to one platform, stick to the cheaper tier. If you like a mix of both, Ultimate is the one for you.
It's also worth knowing that modern Samsung TVs now come packaged with the Xbox app too, so you can stream games without the need for a console. Many of these models make up our top recommendations for the best TV for Xbox Series X in 2023, just like this Samsung 55-inch S95B TV that is going at Best Buy for $1,449.99 (opens in new tab) - a saving of $450.
Finally, for anyone yet to get a console, Xbox All Access (opens in new tab) grants you an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S plus two years of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $20.99 / £20.99 per month. One simple payment and you don't have to think twice about it for two years. Better yet, you can often find some amazing Xbox Game Pass deals (like this three-month subscription at places like CDKeys for $29.99 / £23.99 (opens in new tab) - a saving of $14.98 / £9.00). You can find more great Xbox Game Pass deals just below:
Looking for suggestions on what to play? Check out the 25 best games on Game Pass for Xbox and PC that you can jump into now. We've also rounded up all the best Xbox Series X accessories (opens in new tab) as well as the best cheap Xbox Live Gold 12-month deals to help make the hobby cheaper all around.