When discussing the merits of the Xbox, PlayStation 5, and PC trigemony, a wise (and somehow ever-present) gamer will often interject about Game Pass, Microsoft's gaming subscription. It's such a great value, they always say.
Microsoft's online services have evolved over the years, so what does Game Pass truly offer? And are there any caveats to watch out for? Let's break that down.
At its core, Game Pass is a subscription game service that offers a rotating catalog of "over 100" games.
There are two tiers, effectively; a $9.99-per-month tier for PC and consoles that gets you access to the games, and then there's Game Pass Ultimate, the high-end tier that primarily gets you Android streaming, but there are some other perks too.
Yes, a Game Pass subscription gets you access to an ever-changing library of games, but the thing that makes it a great deal is that Microsoft often brings in games that people really want to play.
The Medium, for example, is a new Xbox exclusive. You can buy it at normal price, of course, but Game Pass subscribers just get it for free. Plus, when you add EA Play to the mix with titles like FIFA 20 and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, the service is bound to have something to suit your taste.
If you opt for the $9.99 PC or console tiers you'll be able to pick from Microsoft's Game Pass library. These are native games, so they'll download and install like any other game, no streaming involved.
That might not always be the case, however, as a leak of xCloud running in the browser recently appeared on the web.
Microsoft would probably prefer it if you used an Xbox controller with your phone, but if you really want a handheld gaming experience you should look into the Razer Kishi, which we wrote about here. You could go with a cheaper controller like the Flydigi Wee 2T, but the upgrade to the Kishi is seriously worth it.
If you're in the market for either of Microsoft's latest consoles, there's an even better deal available: Xbox All Access.
These financing options are... pretty sweet. For a super low outlay you can get next-gen hardware and an instant library of games.
Game Pass doesn't have every game you'll ever want. But it has a little of everything, including plenty of top-tier Xbox titles new and old, and you can use it anywhere.
As a newbie Xbox owner, Game Pass was a great way to explore new genres without taking a risk on an expensive triple-AA title. I've been able to try out games like The Outer Worlds and Dragon Age: Inquisition, neither of which I would've paid full-price for otherwise.
So is it a good deal? Yeah, absolutely.