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Is Game Pass free with Xbox Gold?

The short answer is no, an Xbox Live Gold subscription does not get you free access to Xbox Game Pass. They are separate paid services. However, there are some important connections between Live Gold and Game Pass that provide discounts and bundled access. Let‘s dive into the details!

As an avid Xbox gamer myself, I know it can get confusing with the different Microsoft subscription options like Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass. I used to wonder if getting Xbox Live Gold also allowed me to get Game Pass for free.

After researching the ins and outs of how Gold and Game Pass memberships work, I‘ll explain clearly in this article whether Game Pass comes free with Gold or not. I‘ll also give you pro tips on how to get the most out of your Xbox gaming subscriptions!

What is Xbox Live Gold?

Let‘s start with the basics of what Xbox Live Gold is all about. Xbox Live Gold is Microsoft‘s premium online multiplayer gaming service for Xbox consoles. Here‘s a quick rundown of what you get with an Xbox Live Gold membership:

  • Access to online multiplayer gaming – This is the big one! An Xbox Live Gold subscription unlocks online multiplayer access for the vast majority of Xbox games. Without Gold, you can only play singleplayer offline.

  • Free Xbox Games with Gold – You get a selection of free full Xbox games to download and keep each month. Recent freebies have included massive titles like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Madden NFL 22.

  • Exclusive discounts and deals – Active Gold subscribers get special member-only discounts and deals in the Xbox Store on games, movies, DLC, and more. This perk alone can save you a ton of cash.

  • Parties and chat with friends – Xbox Live Gold lets you join parties and chat with friends across Xbox consoles, Windows 10 PCs, and mobile devices. Stay social while gaming!

An Xbox Live Gold membership currently costs $9.99 per month, $24.99 for 3 months, or $59.99 per year. Gold has been required for online multiplayer gaming on Xbox consoles for nearly 20 years now. It‘s a staple subscription for the majority of Xbox gamers.

What is Xbox Game Pass?

Now that we‘ve gone over Xbox Live Gold, let‘s talk about what exactly Xbox Game Pass is all about.

Xbox Game Pass is essentially Netflix for Xbox games – you pay a monthly subscription fee to get unlimited access to a catalog of over 100 downloadable Xbox games. If you love playing lots of different games, Game Pass is an incredible value compared to buying each title individually.

Here are the major benefits you get with an Xbox Game Pass membership:

  • Unlimited access to a catalog of over 100 games – You can browse and download any Game Pass title to your Xbox console or PC to play as much as you want.

  • New Xbox exclusives on day one – Microsoft adds all new first-party Xbox games to Game Pass on their release date at no extra cost. Huge value for fans of Halo, Forza, and more.

  • Play on Xbox, PC, and mobile – Game Pass works across Xbox consoles, Windows 10 PCs, and Android devices via cloud streaming. Your progress and achievements carry over too.

  • New games added monthly – The library of Game Pass titles expands each month with new hits added and some rotated out to keep it fresh.

  • Cancel anytime – Game Pass subscriptions are monthly with no long-term commitments, so you can cancel anytime if you feel like taking a break.

The standard cost of Xbox Game Pass is $9.99 per month on either Xbox consoles or Windows PC. There‘s also an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate plan with extra benefits that we‘ll cover shortly.

Does Xbox Live Gold include Game Pass for free?

Now that we‘ve outlined what each service provides, let‘s answer the key question:

Does an Xbox Live Gold subscription get you free access to Xbox Game Pass?

The answer is no, Xbox Live Gold does not include or bundle in Xbox Game Pass. They are completely separate paid subscription services.

Having an Xbox Live Gold membership alone does not also give you access to the benefits of Xbox Game Pass. If you want to enjoy the perks of both Gold and Game Pass, you need to subscribe to each individually.

Think of them as two independent memberships – one for online multiplayer gaming (Gold), and one for game downloads (Game Pass). An Xbox gamer needs both to get the full experience.

However, while Game Pass isn‘t free with Gold, there are some notable connections between the two services:

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundles Gold and Game Pass

While Xbox Live Gold doesn‘t directly come with free Game Pass access, there is a popular bundled subscription from Microsoft called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate conveniently rolls up Xbox Live Gold, standard Xbox Game Pass for console, Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming into a single membership package.

The Game Pass Ultimate monthly subscription price is $14.99. That nets you all these benefits in one bundle:

  • Xbox Live Gold (online multiplayer, free monthly games, discounts)
  • Xbox Game Pass for console (100+ games downloadable to Xbox)
  • Xbox Game Pass for PC (100+ games downloadable to Windows PC)
  • Xbox Cloud Gaming (streaming Xbox games to mobile devices)

As you can see, an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription includes Xbox Live Gold along with all the Game Pass offerings. So it‘s a great way for Xbox gamers to simplify their subscriptions and get both services together at a discount.

Many Xbox experts like myself view Game Pass Ultimate as one of the best deals in gaming. You get incredible value compared to subscribing to each service individually.

Discounts for Xbox Live Gold members

While Xbox Live Gold doesn‘t grant you free access to Xbox Game Pass on an ongoing basis, active Gold subscribers can receive special discounts on Game Pass.

The most popular of these is being able to get your first month of Xbox Game Pass for only $1 for a limited time. This lets Gold members try Game Pass virtually free for a month.

Microsoft frequently offers this $1 Game Pass promotion to Xbox Live Gold subscribers. So it provides a nice periodic opportunity to experience Game Pass at almost no cost.

Gold members may also see occasional discounts on multi-month Game Pass subscriptions. So it can be worth watching for those as well.

Should you upgrade from Xbox Live Gold to Game Pass Ultimate?

For Xbox gamers who currently subscribe only to Xbox Live Gold, upgrading to Game Pass Ultimate is highly recommended to get the most value.

Ultimate bundles your existing Gold membership and adds on all of the Game Pass console, PC, and cloud gaming benefits.

Based on the typical standalone costs of subscribing to Gold and Game Pass console separately, here is a comparison:

  • Xbox Live Gold – $9.99 per month

  • Xbox Game Pass Console – $9.99 per month

  • Total standalone price: $19.98 per month

  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (includes Gold + Game Pass) – $14.99 per month

As you can see, you get everything Gold offers, plus all the Game Pass benefits for only $5 more per month with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

For just a small upgrade fee from Gold alone, Ultimate provides a massive amount of extra gaming value with the hundreds of Game Pass titles added to the mix.

Most Xbox gamers find upgrading to Game Pass Ultimate to be more than worth it. Unless you only play one or two multiplayer games a lot, you‘ll get your money‘s worth from the huge variety of Game Pass games to explore.

How to get Xbox Game Pass deals and discounts

While Xbox Game Pass doesn‘t come bundled free with Xbox Live Gold, there are fortunately some ways you can get Game Pass at discounted pricing or temporarily free.

Here are tips on getting deals on Xbox Game Pass memberships:

Game Pass 1-month trials – As mentioned above, Xbox Live Gold members can frequently sign up for their first month of Game Pass for just $1. Open to new Game Pass subscribers only.

Microsoft Rewards – Earning Microsoft Reward points through Bing searches, quizzes, polls, etc allows you to redeem points towards Game Pass memberships. With some effort, you can get 1-3 months free per year this way.

Xbox Game Sharing – Set your Xbox console as the "Home Xbox" for someone else who has an active Game Pass subscription to share their access.

Game Pass Perks – Special member perks for Game Pass subscribers sometimes include 1-month free Game Pass trials.

Games with Gold – Certain free Xbox Games with Gold monthly games come with 1-month Game Pass trial codes to redeem.

Xbox console bundles – Some new Xbox console bundles include 1-month or 3-months of free Game Pass Ultimate access as a bonus.

As you can see, while Game Pass isn‘t free long-term with Xbox Live Gold, taking advantage of these kinds of deals provides great ways to save money on Game Pass access.

Frequently asked questions about Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass

Here are quick answers to some of the most common questions about the relationship between Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass memberships:

Does Xbox Live Gold come with Game Pass?

No, Gold does not include or bundle in Xbox Game Pass. They are separate paid subscriptions.

Is Game Pass Ultimate free for Gold members?

No, Gold members need to pay the standard $14.99 monthly fee for Game Pass Ultimate access. Gold alone does not get you Ultimate for free.

Can I pay for Game Pass with my Gold membership?

No, Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass are completely separate subscriptions, so you can‘t directly use Gold payment towards Game Pass. You‘ll need to pay the standard $9.99 Game Pass monthly fee.

If I have Game Pass Ultimate, do I need Gold too?

No, Game Pass Ultimate includes Xbox Live Gold along with Game Pass access, so no separate Gold subscription is needed.

Does my Gold membership discount Game Pass cost?

No ongoing discounts. But active Gold members can often sign up for a discounted $1 first month of Game Pass.

Do I keep my Games with Gold if I cancel Gold?

No, you lose access to claimed Games with Gold titles when you cancel your Xbox Live Gold subscription, until you re-subscribe.

The Bottom Line

While Xbox Game Pass does not come bundled for free with an Xbox Live Gold membership, upgrading to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundles together both services into one subscription package.

For Xbox gamers looking to maximize their gaming value, Game Pass Ultimate provides a terrific deal by combining Xbox Live Gold‘s multiplayer access with all the benefits of Game Pass for one low monthly price.

And even though Game Pass isn‘t free long-term for Gold members, be sure to take advantage of any limited-time discounts like $1 first months to enjoy Game Pass on the cheap when available.

With smart management of your Xbox gaming subscriptions, you can enjoy online multiplayer, free monthly games, exclusive discounts, and access to over 100 of the best Xbox game downloads for a reasonable monthly price. Game on!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.