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Is Ultimate Game Pass free?

No, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is not free. It is a subscription service from Microsoft that provides access to over 100 high quality console and PC games for a monthly fee of $14.99. But is it worth paying for? As a fellow gamer, let me walk you through everything you need to know about Xbox Game Pass Ultimate pricing, so you can decide if it‘s right for you.

What Exactly is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

For those who may not be familiar, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives you unlimited access to a Netflix-style library of over 100 downloadable games for Xbox consoles and Windows PCs. It includes big-name titles like Halo, Forza, and Elder Scrolls.

New games are added frequently, so there‘s always something new to play. As a subscriber, you can download and play any game in the library as much as you want. Games rotate in and out over time, but you can play them as long as they are available.

On top of the games library, Game Pass Ultimate bundles together a few key services:

  • Xbox Live Gold – Allows online multiplayer gaming
  • Exclusive member discounts and deals
  • Cloud gaming through Xbox Cloud Gaming to play on phones/tablets
  • Access to the EA Play game catalog

So in one package, you get an Netflix-style game library, multiplayer access, discounts, and cloud gaming. It aims to provide a lot of value in one subscription.

How Much Does Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Cost?

The standard monthly price for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is $14.99 in the US. Here‘s an overview of the pricing:

  • Monthly price: $14.99
  • Annual price: $179.99 (saves about $5 per month)
  • Can prepay up to 36 months at a time
  • Introductory offer of $1 for first month is no longer available
  • Special console bundle deals sometimes include 1-2 years of Game Pass Ultimate
  • Can convert up to 36 months of Xbox Live Gold to Game Pass Ultimate for only $1 each

To put the monthly price in context, one new Xbox game typically costs $59.99. So less than the price of two new games, you get unlimited access to over 100 with Game Pass.

Microsoft does occasionally run special deals and promotional pricing for Game Pass Ultimate. But the standard monthly price remains $14.99 for now.

Game Pass Ultimate Pricing in Other Regions

United Kingdom£10.99 per month
Europe€12.99 per month
Australia$15.95 per month
Canada$16.99 per month

So the monthly price is generally around $15 USD equivalent in most major markets. Prices do vary slightly by region.

Are There Free Trials Available?

Unlike services like Netflix, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate does not offer any permanent or recurring free trial options. However, you may be able to access limited-time free trials through promotions.

Here are some of the ways to potentially get free trial access:

  • Limited-time free trial promo offers from Microsoft (usually 14 or 30 days)
  • 30 day free trial with purchase of a new Xbox console or controller
  • Free month or trial period when redeeming special promo code from game or event
  • 14 day free trial through the Xbox mobile app (limited availability)

So while there is no permanent free option, be on the lookout for special deals and short-term promotions that offer free trial periods. Just don‘t expect unlimited ongoing free access.

How Game Pass Ultimate Stacks Up Against Other Gaming Services

To better understand the value proposition of Game Pass Ultimate, let‘s compare it to some other major gaming subscription services:

PlayStation Plus

  • Cost: $9.99 per month
  • Mainly provides online multiplayer access and monthly free games
  • Does not include brand new AAA game releases
  • Much smaller on-demand game library compared to Game Pass

PlayStation Now

  • Cost: $9.99 per month for 720p streaming / $59.99 per year for 1080p downloads
  • Streaming-focused service with download option on select titles
  • Over 800 game titles across PS2, PS3, PS4
  • Game library comparable in size to Game Pass

Google Stadia Pro

  • Cost: $9.99 per month
  • Primarily cloud streaming-based model
  • Somewhat limited games library of under 100 titles
  • Only streams at 1080p resolution

Compared to other major subscription options, Game Pass Ultimate provides one of the largest on-demand libraries with full downloads, at a comparable price point. The value comes from immediate access to brand new titles and the sheer size of the library.

Is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Ultimately Worth the Cost?

Whether Game Pass Ultimate is "worth it" depends largely on your gaming habits and budget:

For casual gamers, the monthly cost may outweigh the benefits. Buying select titles you want for $60 each could be cheaper than an ongoing $180 per year subscription.

For frequent gamers, Game Pass Ultimate offers compelling value. Access to over 100 full games for a monthly fee comparable to buying just 1 or 2 games.

For parents, it can provide affordable variety and entertainment for the whole family. Kids can explore many different games for much less than buying multiple titles.

For hardcore gamers, immediate access to big new releases like Halo is hugely appealing. Plus a deep library to discover old favorites and indie gems.

According to a 2021 survey from Interpret, 46% of Xbox Game Pass subscribers say they play more games now compared to before subscribing. And 80% say it encourages them to try games they wouldn‘t have otherwise considered.

So while Game Pass Ultimate may not suit everyone‘s budget, it undeniably opens up access to an incredible variety of gaming for a reasonable monthly price. If you‘re an avid Xbox gamer, it could easily pay for itself over buying several $60 games per year.

But casual players or those on a tight budget may want to evaluate if the monthly commitment is justified. At the end of the day, only you know your own gaming preferences and budget to determine if it‘s a worthy investment.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Game Pass Ultimate

If you do decide to get Game Pass Ultimate, here are some tips to maximize the value you get out of it:

  • Take advantage of any free trial or promo discount you can
  • Follow Xbox news sites to learn about new title reveals and additions to the library
  • Use cloud gaming to turn your phone into a mobile Xbox anytime, anywhere
  • Don‘t be afraid to try games outside your usual genres – branch out!
  • Lookup reviews of lesser-known indie titles before downloading
  • Cancel anytime if you find you aren‘t using it enough to justify the cost

The service is designed to encourage discovery and make gaming more affordable. So be adventurous and try out genres you normally wouldn‘t. Hidden gems could become new favorites.

Game Pass Ultimate opens up a treasure trove of gaming possibilities. While not free, the subscription can easily pay for itself if you love gaming and take full advantage. Hopefully this breakdown gives you all the details to decide if it aligns with your budget and interests. Game on!



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