Xbox Game Pass getting big changes, ditching day one releases for basic tier

Xbox Game Pass getting big changes, ditching day one releases for basic tier

Plus price increases across the board.

Official Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 screenshot showing an enemy in tactical gear

Image credit: Activision

Microsoft has confirmed sweeping changes – including price increases – to its Xbox Game Pass subscription service in the run-up to October’s launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 6, which will include the removal of day one releases for its overhauled basic tier.

As reported by Windows Central, which says Microsoft has now confirmed the details, the first big Game Pass change comes with the imminent closure of Xbox Game Pass for Console. While this will continue to be available to existing members until their subscription expires (notably, from 12th September, Microsoft will only allow users to stack Game Pass for Console for up to 13 months), new users looking for a basic tier package will need to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Standard, which launches in September.

This costs $14.99/month and includes Xbox Live Gold for multiplayer gaming, plus access to Xbox’s back catalogue – but not, crucially, access to first-party releases on day one. That means console players wanting to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 via Game Pass when it launches on 25th October will need to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 gameplay reveal trailer.Watch on YouTube

Ultimate, which will also remain the only Game Pass subscription tier offering access to Xbox Cloud Gaming, is getting a price increase too, with its monthly cost rising from £12.99 / $16.99 to £14.99 / $19.99. Things are a little bit different on PC insofar as PC Game Pass will continue to get day one games, but its price is also increasing – this time from £7.99 / $9.99 per month to £9.99 / $11.99 per month.

There’s one additional price increase to note: Xbox Game Pass Core (formerly Xbox Live Gold) will see its annual cost rise from £49.99 / $59.99 to £55.99 / $74.99, but its monthly price remains £6.99 / $9.99. Recurring billing prices for all Game Pass offerings increase from 12th September, according to Windows Central.

All this follows Microsoft’s $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard last year, and confirmation in May that Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 would be a day one Game Pass release when it launches in October. In response to reports that Microsoft was planning “changes” to Game Pass to take advantage of Black Ops 6’s arrival, the company told Eurogamer the game would be “playable on Xbox and PC for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, PC Game Pass, and Xbox Game Pass for Console members” at launch. And that still appears to be true – albeit now with an additional cost, and not if you’re a new Xbox Game Pass Standard subscriber.

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