Are The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Perks Worth The Subscription Price?

Whether you're a longtime gamer or new to the world of Xbox, you might be considering one of Xbox's Game Pass subscriptions. As more and more consumers switch to digitally-based games over more classic disc-based games, Xbox has even embraced entirely disc-free consoles like the Xbox Series S. This can make a Game Pass subscription especially important if you're looking to buy or change your existing console to something disc-free. There can be a lot to consider when it comes to your gaming console, from exclusive games and franchises to console performance and graphics. Plus, increasingly, the available game library that accompanies a specific gaming brand can be the ultimate factor in deciding which console to purchase.

A big part of game library options today comes from subscription gaming plans. These plans can supplement or even be critical to both regular console first-person play as well as online multiplayer options. As subscriptions have increasingly become a significant part of the gaming experience, it's important to consider which subscription might be best for you. Enter the Xbox Game Pass.

Xbox arguably started the online streaming gaming universe with the introduction of Xbox Live in 2002 but multiple iterations and changes in technology since have transformed into contemporary Game Pass options. Xbox currently offers four different Game Pass subscription plans — Core, PC, Console, and Ultimate — each with varying levels of access to a downloadable library of both past and current games, plus options for online multiplayer games (and preferred device), but are they worth it?

Xbox Game Pass subscription options

With four subscription levels, there are plenty of options to best fit your gaming needs. Xbox offers two entry-level plans — the Xbox Game Pass Core and Xbox Game Pass PC — that are both $9.99 a month. The Game Pass Core option focuses almost exclusively on online multiplayer and severely limits access to downloadable games in the game library. This option is most suitable to players with an interest in multiplayer options as opposed to individual game campaigns. The Game Pass PC plan gives players full access to the Xbox PC Game Pass library, however only for players exclusively accessing content on their computer as opposed to an Xbox console.

The next subscription level is the Xbox Game Pass Console plan, which costs $10.99 a month. This plan allows players to download games from the Game Pass library for console-based campaign play but doesn't allow for online multiplayer action.

This leaves us with the final, and by far most comprehensive, plan option, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which costs subscribers $16.99 a month. This plan allows players to not only access Xbox's online multiplayer options but also the console and PC Game Pass libraries. One of the best parts of the Xbox game library is that it includes games from Xbox One, Xbox 360, and even original Xbox, giving you a lot more options and even nostalgia choices if you've been a gamer for a long time. The Ultimate subscription essentially gives players full access to everything Xbox has to offer across a variety of devices.

Is Game Pass Ultimate worth it?

For starters, if you decide to move forward with a disc-free console and rely exclusively on a Game Pass subscription, then you'll save money on the console itself, which could increase the value of the subscription. This is largely due to the price point of the best disc console alternative, the Xbox X, which retails for $499.99. While you'll still have the monthly expense of the subscription plan, the difference in upfront console price, as well as the price of new games, could ultimately make a huge difference to your overall expense.

Plus, while disc players will still more than likely continue to purchase new games, the beauty of Game Pass Ultimate is that as a disc-less console player, there's a good chance those games might be available to you through your subscription without an added expense. Regardless of your console, a Game Pass subscription is essentially required to fully enjoy everything your Xbox has to offer, so it's great news to find it's absolutely worth the price.

The extensive game library available to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers is easily the plan option's greatest value with over 100 console and PC games, some of which aren't available or playable on all devices anymore. Certain brand-exclusive game releases, meanwhile, might also be a selling point for players looking for access to franchise games made for previous-generation Xbox consoles (such as "Halo," "Forza," and "Gears of War"). Ultimate subscribers also get access to new games every month, in addition to discounts and special in-game content for $16.99/month or around 56 cents a day. (Check out Money Analysis's frugal tips for saving money without sacrifice.)