Microsoft just made Game Pass more expensive and it looks like a mistake

Xbox Series X console next to TV
(Image credit: Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Xbox Game Pass prices are set to rise globally this week. Today, Microsoft is hiking up the cost of its subscription service across most of the 40 countries in which the digital platform is available. 

Subscribers to Games Pass Ultimate in the U.S. will have to start paying $19.99 per month instead of $16.99 (thanks, Engadget), while prices are jumping to £14.99 in the U.K. (up from £12.99) and to AU$22.95 in Australia (up from AU$19.95p/m). 

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (3 months): was $49 now $44 @ Amazon

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (3 months): was $49 now $44 @ Amazon
Three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is on sale for $44 at Amazon. This awesome service gives you access to a library of must-play titles, including brand-new releases from Xbox Game Studios such as Starfield and Forza Motorsport 8. Plus, it also comes with PC games and all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold as well. It's an essential service for Xbox owners.

Prices for Game Pass Core — the most basic subscription tier — are also on the rise. A 12-month sub now costs $74.99p/m (up from $59.99), £55.99p/m (up from £49.99) in the U.K. and AU$89.95 Down Under (up from AU$89.95).

Granted, Microsoft just put on one of the strongest Xbox Showcase presentations in years recently, but a price bump for a service that feels like it hasn’t had many games to shout about since Starfield launched last year isn’t exactly welcome.

If you’re an existing Game Pass subscriber, these price changes won’t kick in until September 12. Is this the last significant change going on with the service? It looks like the Xbox Game Pass for Console plan will no longer be offered to new subscribers going forward.

You shall not Game Pass  

Forza horizon 5 screen shot

(Image credit: Playground Games)

Engadget reports Game Pass subscribers have been slow to rise recently, with subs only growing by 9 million over the last two years. A price jump is hardly going to boost Game Pass’ appeal, even if the service could soon be flooded with classic games after the completion of the Activision-Blizzard acquisition. 

Perhaps the price adjustment has ties to Game Pass coming to Fire Stick TV this week. The Xbox app can now be downloaded on both the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and Fire TV Stick 4K across 25 countries, and it allows you to play some of the best Xbox Series X games provided you have a Bluetooth-compatible controller. 

As PS5 continues to smash both Series X and Xbox Series S in the sales department this console generation, making Game Pass more expensive seems like a slightly bizarre decision to me from Microsoft. Either way, Xbox could badly do with the likes of Indiana Jones and the Great Circle right about now.  

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.