Discover more from The Shortcut
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate family plan: is it worth it? Here's the math
I did the math on the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership. You really need to use all four seats to save money.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny
🟩 What: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate family plan is getting a trial run
👨👨👦👦 All in the fam: You can share the benefits with three other people
💰 Price: €21.99/month, so very likely $24.99/month in the US
🧮 Math (below): It’s only worth it if all four people use it in a family
🌎 Where: In Columbia and Ireland for Xbox Insiders beta testers so far
Microsoft is finally testing a way to expand the benefits of your Xbox Game Pass membership to family and friends without breaking the bank. This is timely, because, as I’ve demonstrated time and time again, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 12-month discount code trick suggests it’s been overpriced by $20 for some time.
It’s not available everywhere yet. Microsoft announced that it’s testing the Game Pass family plan in Colombia and Ireland and it requires the lead account to purchase the new “Xbox Game Pass – Insider Preview” plan in the Microsoft Store. Your current membership will convert over at a fair value.
The math is below and this page is 100% ad-free, but I’d appreciate you signing up – FREE or paid helps me! 🙏
The price? €21.99 per month reports The Verge’s Tom Warren, who found that one month of the normal Game Pass Ultimate converts into 18 days of the family plan. Thankfully, the other three members don’t have to be Xbox Insiders, but you do all need to be in the same country.
The math for Xbox families
I’ve called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate one of the best deals in gaming, but that’s when it’s bought individually – and with the easy-to-apply discount code. It’s still a good value without the discount, but $20 off is icing on the cake 🍰 (no lie).
Microsoft, unlike Sony with its PlayStation Plus service (and its trickle of PS Plus free games), allows you to play first-party games on all Game Pass tiers on day one of each game’s launch. It’ll be a bit easier to run through that Xbox games 2022 list.
But the Game Pass price – discount code or not – adds up when a family of four gamers wants access to the service using their own Gamertag. My niece and three nephews, for example, game under one account for this reason and… it’s an issue. This fixes that issue – or it at least will once it launches in the United States.
But there’s a threshold that has to be met for this Game Pass family plan to be worth it, at least when you look at that €21.99 price.
How much does Xbox Game Pass family plan cost?
🇮🇪🙋 €12.99/mo for Game Pass Ultimate for individuals in Ireland
🇮🇪👨👨👦👦 €21.99/mo for the new Game Pass Ultimate family plan in Ireland
🇺🇸🙋 $14.99/mo Game Pass Ultimate for individuals in the US
🇺🇸👨👨👦👦 $24.99/mo likely for the Game Pass Ultimate in the US (my estimate)
Wild card for Game Pass deal-savvy people
🃏🙋 $8.33/mo for 1 Game Pass Ultimate with a discount code
🃏🧑🤝🧑 $16.66/mo for 2 Game Pass Ultimates with a discount code
🃏👪 $24.99/mo for 3 Game Pass Ultimates with a discount code
You’ll break even at this point
🃏👨👨👦👦 $33.32/mo for 4 Game Pass Ultimates with a discount code
At this point, buying individually ends up being more money
An individual Game Pass Ultimate membership is €12.99/mo. It’s fair to think that since the Game Pass Ultimate MSRP is $14.99/mo in the US, the family plan will cost $24.99/mo here, just $10 more. That’s a great deal… for four seats.
But when you factor in the always readily available discount code trick that knocks off $20 per quarter (so the $14.99 per month goes to $8.33 per month), having two seats when bought individually would only cost $16.66/mo and you break even with three seats at $24.99/mo. It’s not until you hit four seats that this new plan actually saves you money, even when applying the discount code.
It’s reasonable to assume that the family plan pricing will even out to be “buy three get one free”
This is my back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it makes sense. Microsoft isn’t going to suddenly give you Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for half price. But it’s reasonable to assume that the family plan pricing will even out to be “buy three get one free.”
That’s still a good deal for some families who would have had to shell out $60 every month for four seats to Game Pass Ultimate. And it’s an even better deal for Microsoft because most families probably do what mine does – just consolidate and fight over who gets to unlock achievements on the Game Pass-enabled account.