Game Pass for PC Review

The Game Pass for PC is the Windows computer version of the Xbox Game Pass, bringing the video game subscription service to the home computer. Much like the Xbox Game Pass, the Game Pass for PC offers tremendous value through a similar, almost identical service, although there are subtle differences in the content, along with the experience provided by Microsoft.

The Game Pass for PC offers a slightly different library of games to the Xbox Game Pass, with a desktop app that’s a bit clunky, but all-over it’s still a pretty good deal for $10.95, writes Zac Kelly.

Game Pass for PC: The Xbox Game Pass on your computer

The value offered by Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription services is undeniable – the ability to access hundreds of games for $10.95 per month, with your first month costing $1, is truly incredible. It’s value the industry rarely has on offer, and Microsoft has gone above and beyond to curate a library of games as sophisticated as that on the Game Pass(es).

With all of this praise flung at the Game Pass for PC, customers shouldn’t forget a handful of things. Unlike the Xbox Game Pass, the Game Pass for PC has a bit more inconsistency – the games library is slightly different, the desktop app is quite buggy (as it’s still quite new) and there are some tedious features.

Gears 5, available on Game Pass for PC
Gears 5, available on Game Pass for PC

What is the Game Pass for PC?

The Game Pass for PC is a video game subscription service intended for PC gamers, almost in the form of a “Netflix for games”. Below you’ll find all three types of the Game Pass, broken up in a table.

Subscription Inclusions Devices available on Cost
Xbox Game Pass
  • Access over 100 Xbox video games
  • New games added over time
  • Access Xbox Game Studios games on day one
Xbox consoles $10.95/mth

Game Pass for PC

  • Access over 100 PC video games
  • New games added over time
  • Access Xbox Game Studios games on day one
  • Access to EA Play library of games
Windows 10 PCs $10.95/mth (First month is $1)

Game Pass Ultimate

  • Access over 100 Xbox and PC video games
  • New games added over time
  • Access Xbox Game Studios games on day one
  • Access to EA Play library of games on both PC and Xbox
  • Includes Xbox Live multiplayer access
Xbox consoles and Windows 10 PCs $15.95/mth (First month is $1)

 

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Games are constantly being added and removed from the service, but with hundreds of games at your disposal, you’re bound to find something exciting to play. Also included in the Game Pass for PC subscription is a subscription to EA Play, which includes a massive range of EA-published games like the Battlefield, Mass Effect and Dragon Age series of games.

Diving into the Game Pass for PC is a bit different to the Xbox Game Pass, as although they’re fundamentally the same thing, the Game Pass for PC has a few more things worth criticising – so unlike the Xbox Game Pass review, we’ll be splitting up the good and the bad into two categories.

DOOM Eternal, available on Game Pass for PC
DOOM Eternal, available on Game Pass for PC

Game Pass for PC: Pros and Cons

Here are some quick notes on the Game Pass for PC in case you’re weighing up giving it a try.

Game Pass for PC Pros

  • Great value for more than 100 games
  • Includes EA play (Ultimate not required) and Microsoft-published games
  • Works on Windows 10 PCs

Game Pass for PC Cons

  • Game Pass desktop app is buggy
  • Some games require a powerful computer
  • Games must be downloaded (consider a high-speed internet connection)

What’s good about the Game Pass for PC?

Quite a lot! Easily the main drawcard of the Game Pass for PC is the value. $10.95 per month, and only $15.95 for the Ultimate version (which includes Xbox Game Pass and perks for select games). Gaming is rarely a budget-friendly hobby, especially when you consider new PC parts can cost hundreds of dollars, and an entry-level gaming PC can cost around $1200.

Included in that price is EA Play, EA’s own subscription service which features its original franchises, like Mass Effect, Battlefield and Crysis. The base Xbox Game Pass doesn’t have access to this, so Xbox users would need Ultimate to get EA Play included.

That’s a great range of games to have on top of the already well-stocked Game Pass library, which includes games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Control and The Outer Worlds. Microsoft has also committed to releasing its first-party games on Game Pass the day they come out (including the new Halo game, Halo Infinite, coming soon). This includes new Bethesda games (Fallout, Skyrim, DOOM), as Microsoft now owns that company.

NBN plans for gamers

If you’re interested in picking up Game Pass for PC, consider picking up a new NBN plan as well. Game Pass for PC relies on being able to download games, with premium titles sitting above 40GB in file size. For this reason, you might want to get an NBN 50 plan, so you can have bigger titles downloaded quickly.

Gaming-ready NBN plans compared

The following table shows a selection of published gaming-ready NBN plans from Telstra and Aussie Broadband on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Cheap NBN plans compared

Not every gamer needs the fastest internet, and some people like it cheaper. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 25 and NBN 50 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

NBN 100 plans compared

If you’d like your gaming experience to have a little extra kick, these plans will do the job. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 100 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

NBN 250 & NBN 1000 plans compared

If you want an NBN plan with some serious power, an Ultra fast NBN plan is for you – albeit more expensive. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Superloop logo

Unlimited Superfast 250/25

  • Superfast 250/25 Speed (NBN 250)
  • BYO modem
  • Special offer: $99.95 for the first six months, then $119.95 ongoing

min. cost $119.95 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $119.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Kogan Logo

Platinum Unlimited

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Modem available for $69 upfront
  • Special offer: $116.90 per month for the first 6 months, then $128.90 per month ongoing. Terms apply, offer available until withdrawn.

min. cost $128.90 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $128.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site

Power User

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)
  • Special offer: $99 for the first six months, then $129 ongoing

min. cost $129 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Superloop logo

Ultrafast 1000/50

  • Ultrafast 1000/50 Evening Speed (NBN 1000)
  • BYO modem
  • Special offer: $119.95 for the first six months, then $139.95 ongoing

min. cost $139.95 over one month

3TBMax Data**/billing period $139.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Superfast NBN

  • Superfast Speed (NBN 250)
  • Typical evening speed: 215Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: 3 months free BINGE Standard.
  • Special offer: $165 per month for the first 12 months, then $140 per month ongoing. Terms apply. Ends 25/10/21.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $3,459 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $140Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Kogan Logo

Diamond Unlimited

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Modem available for $69 upfront
  • Special offer: $134.90 per month for the first 6 months, then $148.90 per month ongoing. Terms apply, offer available until withdrawn.

min. cost $148.90 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $148.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site

Power House

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)
  • Special offer: $119 for the first six months, then $149 ongoing

min. cost $149 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $149Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Ultrafast NBN

  • Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000)
  • Typical evening speed: 250Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: 3 months free BINGE Standard.
  • Special offer: $165 per month for the first six months, then $180 per month ongoing. Terms apply. Ends 25/10/21.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $4,419 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $180Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue
Forza Horizon 4, available on Game Pass for PC
Forza Horizon 4, available on Game Pass for PC

What’s bad about the Game Pass for PC?

While the Game Pass for PC offers considerable value to any PC gamer, it’s not without its problems. Something that should be mentioned to begin is that the Game Pass for PC library is a bit smaller than the Xbox Game Pass library – in particular, PC users don’t get titles like Grand Theft Auto V and the recently-released Outriders. PC users also didn’t get The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which was available to Xbox Game Pass customers, until it was removed just over a month ago.

On a technical level, the Game Pass for PC app works fine enough, but parts of the experience are clunky and buggy. Using the Game Pass for PC for a while, I downloaded a wide range of games, including games from the EA Play catalogue, and for the most part had a pretty good time. Most of it worked, but an unfortunate amount of it didn’t.

Firstly, the app has a lot of deadweight to it – the only way to view all of your downloaded games is through a vertical line on the side of the application and a pretty basic library window. Also, sometimes downloads will simply fail or stop downloading without specifying why. You can get them to download after a little while, you just need to retry the download.

Be cautious with the games you do download though, cause some might not work, or could stop working. This happened when I downloaded Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, which worked the first time I booted it after installing, and then stopped working every time after.

Also, the EA Play Library might be available to Game Pass for PC users, but it doesn’t work that well. You need a separate EA account, along with the EA Desktop app, and then you need to link the two apps. Whenever you want to boot an EA Play game, you need to have the EA Desktop app open. The integration between these apps is quite poor, but you can get by without it.

Just keep in mind too that you’ll need a computer that’s able to run the games you want. Game Pass for PC games won’t work on any computer, so just make sure your PC can run the games you’re interested in. For example, an $800 laptop is unlikely to run some of the games well, but a gaming-spec computer would have a good shot.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, available on Game Pass for PC
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, available on Game Pass for PC

Should I get Game Pass for PC?

I recommend Game Pass for PC if you’re an avid PC gamer, but just make sure you’ve got a powerful enough computer to run the games that you’d like to play. For the price you pay the value is easily justified, even if the service is still a bit buggy and tangled.

Product used for review/testing was a free sample provided by Xbox. 

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