Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Price Hike Sparks Confusion With New Standard Plan

Xbox Game Pass subscribers will soon have to adjust their budgets. Microsoft is raising the prices for some of the tiers on its gaming service and adding several new options, shaking up the workings of an accessible, straightforward system.

Microsoft Xbox Mobile Game Store

Starting 10 July, new subscribers in the U.S. will have to fork over US$19.99 a month, marking a US$3 increase from before. This cost kicks in for existing users on 12 September, alongside a price hike from US$9.99 to US$11.99 per month for PC Game Pass, which maintains access to day-one titles.

The biggest change, though, is a new plan that will replace the Game Pass console tier. Known as Game Pass Standard, it’s due to take over the more affordable alternative to Game Pass Ultimate in “the coming months”, and won’t include new games on day one. According to the company, some day-one releases will eventually be made available for subscribers at a later date.

Here’s where more confusion comes in. Game Pass Standard demands a monthly fee of US$15, but it also covers Xbox Game Pass Core, aka Xbox Live Gold, where the annual price is set to jump from US$60 to US$75. Despite so, its monthly price of US$10 will remain unchanged, with the plan bundling in online multiplayer, some store discounts, and other features.

It’s a lot to take in, and Microsoft has laid out all regional increases in a table and detailed the differences on the FAQ page. Alternatively, there’s a concise primer on X/Twitter by tech journalist Tom Warren, who wrote about the news on The Verge:

Interestingly enough, the rollout of these price changes will take place a month or so before Call of Duty: Black Ops hits the service in October. While it’s too early to tell, these tweaks don’t exactly benefit subscribers — on top of the unnecessarily complicated jargon, breaking down the layers of tiers and caveats is nothing short of a chore.