Xbox Game Pass is a subscription packed with tons of benefits but if you have two or more children, you might notice that if you try to play a game like Sea of Thieves with them you need at a minimum, Xbox Game Pass and two+ Xbox consoles or ideally Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and a mix of Xbox consoles, PCs and mobile devices. What you will quickly run into however is the need to have more than just one Xbox Game Pass subscription in both scenarios.
Xbox Game Pass offers access to a vast library of games you can play on either your Xbox or PC, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offers those features to both Xbox consoles and PC, plus the ability to play those games with Xbox Game Streaming (xCloud) on your Android device and later this year your PCs and iOS device as well. Microsoft’s xCloud feature is often referred to as the ‘Netflix of Gaming’ since xCloud is like having a library of games ready on demand to Stream much like Netflix movies and Spotify music and podcasts. Netflix and Spotify offer something that Xbox Game Pass does not currently offer, a family plan. Why doesn’t Microsoft offer an Xbox Game Pass ‘Family’ Tier? In this editorial, we will make the case for what we are calling “Xbox Game Pass Family.”
|Spotify Plans & Pricing||Premium Student||Premium-Individual||Premium Duo||Premium Family|
|Monthly cost* (United States Dollar)||$4.99||$9.99||$12.99||$15.99|
|Up to 6 separate Premium accounts for people who live together.||1||1||2||6|
|Play any song, any time||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Netflix Plans & Pricing||Basic||Standard||Premium|
|Monthly cost* (United States Dollar)||$8.99||$13.99||$17.99|
|Number of screens you can watch on at the same time||1||2||4|
|Number of phones or tablets you can have downloads on||1||2||4|
|Unlimited movies and TV shows||✓||✓||✓|
|Watch on your laptop, TV, phone and tablet||✓||✓||✓|
|Ultra HD available||✓|
Xbox Game Pass Plans
Both Spotify and Netflix offer a plan for 2 or up to 6 family members, but why not Xbox Game Pass. Here is what Xbox Game Pass currently offers
|Xbox Game Pass Plans & Pricing||XGP PC||XGP||XGP|
|XGP Ultimate||XGP Family*|
|Monthly cost* (United States Dollar)||$9.99||$9.99||$9.99||$14.99||$17.99|
|Number of accounts linked to one XGP subscription||1||1||1||2||5|
|Access to over 100 high-quality games||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|New games added all the time||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Xbox Game Studios titles the same day as release||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Exclusive member discounts and deals||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Play on PC||✓||✓||✓|
|Play on Xbox||✓||✓||✓|
|Xbox Cloud Gaming (Android, iOS/Web)||✓||✓||✓|
|Free Perks including in-game content and partner offers||✓||✓|
|Xbox Family Settings app||✓|
Earlier this year we made the case for an Xbox Game Pass ‘Go’ tier, which is essentially for people you want a cloud only gaming subscription similar to what Google offers with Stadia, Amazon offers with Luna and so on.
The case for an Xbox Game Pass ‘Family’ tier
While the ‘Go’ tier would help Xbox Game Pass compete with Stadia, Luna and GeForce Now, Xbox Game Pass Family would fill a need for families while using cloud gaming to lower the barrier to playing games, since not every family member would need an Xbox to play.
With Amazon’s Luna being playable on Fire TVs, Xbox Cloud Gaming needs to be playable on TVs too. This would serve to further lower the barrier to playing games. Take for instance a family of four, Father with an Xbox Series S, Mother with an iPad, Son with a Galaxy Tab and Daughter with another Galaxy Tab. How does this family play a game like Sea of Thieves together? Two or more Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions? Why not one subscription where your Microsoft account that is linked to your kid’s accounts could share access to Xbox Game Pass?
So why hasn’t Microsoft offered an Xbox Game Pass Family plan yet?
It’s true the Xbox Game Pass is the Netflix of Gaming and with that comes Netflix’s problems too. Netflix subscribers on family plans often share their account with others outside their home so instead of Netflix getting five separate subscriptions, Netflix is only getting one. We have heard that Microsoft’s partners have the same concerns about a potential ‘Family’ plan. The question is “will a developer get more in revenue share with a ‘Family’ plan or without?”
A Family plan would increase discoverability and ease of access to multiplayer games that could be more “Sticky” and could spend more time with, thus more share of revenue for that game studio. If Microsoft wanted to avoid the Netflix account sharing issue, Microsoft could link this to the Xbox Family service. If you want someone in your family to have access to your family’s Xbox Game Pass subscription then they just need to be in your “Microsoft Family.” Right now, if you have kids with Android tablets and the Microsoft launcher installed, you can monitor their activity via the Microsoft Family Safety app. Similarly, with the Xbox Family Settings app, you can monitor activity of their Microsoft account connected to the Xbox Network (formally Xbox Live). Another benefit of Xbox Family Settings app, if you kid wants to make a purchase on your Xbox, then your kid can ask permission and you can either grant or reject their request. It seems that the Xbox Family Settings app has kind of laid the groundwork for an Xbox Game Pass Family plan and we hope that Microsoft has some big announcements around this subject very soon.