If you have an Xbox, chances are you have contemplated the choice of a Xbox Live Gold vs. Xbox Game Pass membership for yourself. Whereas Xbox Live Gold provides access to online play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, and provides a monthly selection of free games and special discounts, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives you a Netflix-style library of hundreds of games you can play across Xbox, PC and Android. This includes all of the perks of Xbox Live Gold plus first-party Microsoft releases as soon as they come out. Learn more about whether Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass is best for your budget and gaming habits and where you can buy a membership for cheap.
What’s Included in Xbox Live Gold
Xbox Live Gold is the online subscription service that started in 2002 for the original Xbox, and it allowed players to play multiplayer games online with voice chat. Since then it has offered more benefits such as special discounts and four free games monthly. A subscription for Xbox Live Gold costs $10 per month (with discounts available if you prepay for three, six or 12 months).
For now, you need Xbox Live Gold to play any online multiplayer games. But recently, it appears Microsoft might change the rules to allow Xbox gamers to play free-to-play games online such as Fortnite and Apex Legends. But here’s the important takeaway: Xbox Game Pass includes Xbox Live Gold, and adds access to dozens of games, too.
What’s Included in Xbox Game Pass
Microsoft recently sweetened the deal of Xbox Live by upgrading Game Pass by offering every game it published to be available on the service on day one of its release. This includes games from its latest acquisition, ZeniMax Media, which includes such popular series as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Wolfenstein, Dishonored and Prey. Outriders from Square Enix and Sony’s upcoming MLB: The Show 21 are two of the latest third-party games to hit Game Pass on their release day, too.
Game Pass Ultimate also delivers access to Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly known as xCloud), which streams certain titles to Android devices using a Bluetooth controller or touch controls. (Microsoft is also working on a browser-based version that will offer compatibility with Windows PCs and Apple devices — see below for more.)
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Who it’s for
For just a few extra bucks per month at $14.99, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gets you all of the perks of Xbox Live Gold — and a whole lot more. The highest tier of Microsoft’s gaming subscription service, Game Pass Ultimate, provides access to hundreds of games that you can play on Xbox, PC and even your Android phone via cloud streaming.
Xbox Game Pass’ massive game library includes all Xbox Game Studios releases on the same day they hit shelves, meaning subscribers automatically get titles like Gears 5, Minecraft Dungeons and the upcoming Halo Infinite without having to shell out an extra $60 a pop. That’s not to mention the troves of big-name third-party titles on Game Pass — including Doom Eternal, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order and Destiny 2 — as well as a huge collection of compelling indie titles like Donut County and Among Us.
If any of those games are of interest to you, subscribing to Game Pass Ultimate could save you a ton of money that you’d otherwise spend buying them a la carte. And if you also play games on PC or want the ability to stream your Xbox games to your Android phone while on the go, Ultimate is a no-brainer.
The Bottom Line
Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate both have their pros and cons. If you’re the type of player that just wants to be able to play Madden or Grand Theft Auto online on their Xbox and doesn’t care about having access to a huge, Netflix-style game library, you’re better off with the cheaper Gold subscription. If you want the absolute most for your money, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will get you all of the benefits of Gold in addition to hundreds of games you can play across your Xbox, PC and Android device.
Where to Buy Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Membership on a Budget
Instead of paying retail price for Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass, get your subscription from Electronic First for cheap! Right now, you can get a 1 month Xbox Live Gold membership for $9.67 (53% off) or a 1 month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership for just $12.99 (38% off) only at Electronic First!
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