Microsoft raises costs on Game Pass service

Microsoft Game Pass, a Netflix-like service for the company’s video games, is undergoing some substantial changes that are likely to rile up the always-vocal gaming audience.

Microsoft has increased the price of all tiers and has phased out one of its lowest-priced options. Effective immediately, the Game Pass console tier has been eliminated and replaced with Xbox Game Pass Standard, a tier that will not include day-one releases of big titles such as the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 6.

Gaining access to new releases the day they hit stores is one of the biggest draws for many Game Pass members. (Existing Game Pass for Console subscribers who have automatic payment renewal enabled on their accounts will be able to continue to use it for now and will retail access to day-one games.)

Subscribers to the Game Pass Ultimate tier, which will keep day-one games for new and existing subscribers, will now pay $20 a month, a $3 per month increase. The Game Pass Standard tier will cost $15 per month, which is notably higher than the $11 per month Game Pass for Console subscribers paid.

Existing customers will begin paying the higher rates on Sept. 12.

While the Xbox console is better known to many, Game Pass has become the heart of Microsoft’s game unit in recent years. Sony has vastly outsold the company in the hardware space for the past two generations of game systems. With Game Pass, though, Microsoft has opened up a way for people to play its games without investing in a $300 piece of hardware. It also appeals to console owners who can play both an extensive catalog of older titles as well as new ones without plunking down $60 or more each time.

In February, Microsoft announced that 34 million people subscribe to the service, a jump of 11 million from two years prior. 

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