Xbox Game Pass Family Plan – Is it coming? Rumors, leaks & what we know so far
Are we finally about to get a family-level subscription model for the best gaming service on the planet? Let's see...
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The title of this article includes ‘what we know so far’ – what I know so far is that buying multiple Game Passes each month for me and the kids are costing a small fortune – especially in its Ultimate variety, so the news as revealed in yesterday’s Windows Central exclusive makes me happy.
The news that a ‘Family’ version of the hugely successful Game Pass model is being considered should not be surprising, if anything it is surprising that we haven’t already got it. After all, Youtube Premium and Spotify Family have already successfully lured me into a higher-price payment tier for the privilege of sharing my account details with the younger members of our clan.
Xbox Game Pass Family Plan release date
All we have at this point is that it is in progress and coming. Even then, we have nothing concrete from the overlords at Microsoft but that does not mean that it might be around the corner. After all, the arrival of a PC Game Pass or Xbox Game Pass does not necessarily need heralding months in advance. There will obviously be licensing models to tweak to make sure publishers and devs don’t see a dramatic drop in profit from people canceling multiple subscriptions in the same household.
This is perhaps the trickiest aspect of the whole shebang. Microsoft already has the tech in play for family sharing. My Office 365 subscription (God, how many of these things do I actually pay for, I must have a look at that at some point) is shared among my family members, but there is no extra divvying up of profits with that. It all goes directly from my account to a bank account in Seattle.
How much will Xbox Game Pass Family Plan cost?
This is where it started getting interesting. I have long suspected that we are about to see a dramatic price restructure in the Game Pass model. The size of the gaming acquisitions over the past year or so by Microsoft will be used to justify it, and also, there has been an increased cost to them. They have spent billions to be fair. I hope we don’t see a more complex multi-tiered approach. We have Ultimate already, but I wouldn’t want to see different types of games behind different pay levels. Which brings us to how much a Family version of Ultimate would cost?
We are currently at $14.99/£14.99 for the Ultimate package which comes in more expensive than say a Spotify, Netflix, Youtube singular offering and closer to what I pay those companies for their family offerings. So how much can Microsoft push it? You would think it would have to be less than twice the base level otherwise it becomes impossible to justify for households with two passes. So I guess we could be looking at something around the $25 mark, which still hits the $300 a year level – yes, that is quite a lot of money to play and not actually own anything, but that is an argument for a different day.
So, will there be an Xbox Game Pass Family Plan?
It’s almost inevitable. There has to be. The reason we moved to multiple passes in my house was only last year as my son, who is now old enough to want to progress in games on his own, basically wouldn’t let me play Forza Horizon as it would have ruined his progress, so I had to give up my account and gamertag of the last decade and start a new account just for myself. This brings another interesting issue around progression and gamer points – whatever system they come up with will have to be able to encompass existing gamertags under the same family umbrella – Family members won’t want to start from fresh. Maybe all of this is more complicated than it first seemed after all.