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Xbox Game Pass Friends and Family announced: What you need to know

xbox game pass
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Earlier this week, we heard about the Xbox Game Pass Friends and Family plan, which would supposedly let multiple family members share an Xbox Game Pass account. Now, Microsoft has officially unveiled the service and shared details about how it works. However, Xbox Game Pass Friends and Family seems to still be in a test phase, as it’s currently only available in two countries: Colombia and Ireland.

Microsoft launched an official Xbox Game Pass Friends and Family page (opens in new tab) where prospective customers can learn more about the new subscription plan. The pitch is unbelievably simple: You pay a flat monthly fee, and up to five family members can share an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate plan. The functionality is exactly the same as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, with access to downloadable titles on Xbox consoles and gaming PCs, as well as streaming functionality on smartphones, Web browsers and consoles.

There don’t seem to be many restrictions to the Friends and Family plan. The five users in question can play at the same time. They can play on different devices, in different households. They can even play the same game — with multiplayer features, if desired.

The only real caveat seems to be that you need to belong to a “family” unit of Xbox accounts. This is not a new feature, however. Family groups on Xbox are beneficial for sharing games, as well as for adding “child” accounts. This is also where parental controls come into play, as “parent” accounts can restrict games or playtime for “child” accounts. The same functionality will be available via Xbox Game Pass Friends and Family, so parents won’t have to worry about young children downloading or streaming anything untoward.

As far as pricing goes, the service costs 49,900 COP ($11.12) or €21.99 ($22.01), which is quite a range. Neither one of these gives us much of an idea of what the service could cost in the U.S. or the UK, particularly with exchange rates in massive flux over the past few months. Presumably, Microsoft will tailor the cost to individual regions. At present, a single Xbox Game Pass Ultimate account costs $14.99 or £14.99 per month, so it stands to reason that a family plan could range between $20 and $30 (or £20 and £30) per month.

Tom’s Guide will have more info on the Xbox Friends and Family plan when it becomes available in the U.S. and the UK. Microsoft hasn’t given a timetable for that, though, so you’ll have to settle for sharing games you actually own at present.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.