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Here’s what you need to know about Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate

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Gaming is gradually becoming one of the world’s most popular pastimes, particularly as gaming companies work toward making games more affordable and accessible.

Xbox is currently leading the way in these efforts, by providing its user base with an astounding number of games via its Game Pass subscription. The popular subscription service works similarly to Netflix, but for games, and allows users access to a broad swathe of different titles, all of which are baked into a low monthly payment.

Here’s what you need to know about Xbox’s Game Pass, as well as the next step up: Game Pass Ultimate.

Xbox Game Pass is a subscription video game service that gives its users access to a broad library of popular games. A rare few of them are exclusive to Xbox, but the vast majority are enjoyable on other consoles. Not at the cost allowed by Game Pass, however. The service, at its basic level, will run subscribers $9.99 a month. Game Pass can be purchased for either console or PC and provides access to games like Fallout 4, the Batman: Arkham collection, and Dishonored for free. Each of these games — along with hundreds more — are included in the $10 monthly cost, which means that users can cycle through dozens of games to their hearts’ content.

Games developed by Xbox Game Studios will be accessible on Game Pass on the same day as release, granting subscribers with almost instantaneous access. The game library on Game Pass is always shifting, adding tantalizing new titles even as old games are dropped from the service.

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Even those games not included in Game Pass are likely to be discounted for Game Pass subscribers. While not every game will get this treatment, enough are likely to make this service a must-have for any ardent gamer.

Game Pass Ultimate takes all the offerings of its little sibling and ups the ante even more. The more expansive option will run players $14.99 monthly, but includes enough additional perks to make the hike in cost well worth it. Gamers who aren’t exclusive to a single device can enjoy Game Pass for both their consoles and their PC using Ultimate, which gives them an even broader library of potential options.

Ultimate also offers up Cloud gaming, which allows users to enjoy games without downloading them. Using the Cloud feature simply requires users to locate a game they are interested in trying out and launching it via the Cloud, which should launch the game immediately — no download time needed. Games on the Cloud are still a bit glitchy, if we’re being honest, but the idea is stellar. Once Xbox figures out how to reduce the lag, this option could be a game-changer.

One of the best perks of Ultimate is the added access to EA Play. A base subscription to Game Pass for PC will also include this option, but a base console subscription will not. Ultimate and PC Game Pass give users access to EA Play’s own broad library of games, which includes titles like The Sims and FIFA.

For $5 more a month, Ultimate will give users access to an additional library’s worth of games, as well as Xbox Gold — which provides discounts, special deals, and expanded multiplayer options — and Cloud gaming. Its a must-have for ardent gamers, particularly those who desire to try out a large selection of games.

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