Xbox is increasing Game Pass prices and adding a 'standard' plan

The revamp to Microsoft's subscription program is likely in response to slower sales.

Time for Xbox fans to adjust their budgets. Xbox Game Pass is increasing prices this year in a phased rollout. Beginning on July 10, any new subscribers will be charged the updated price, while current subscribers will see the higher costs take effect starting September 12. For the US, Game Pass Ultimate prices will increase from $17 a month to $20 a month, while a year of access to Game Pass Core will jump from $60 to $75. Microsoft laid out all the regional increases in a graph.

Microsoft is also adding a less expensive option in September with Xbox Game Pass Standard. This plan offers access to Game Pass titles but without some perks of the Ultimate package, such as day one releases and Xbox Cloud Gaming. The Standard option will include online multiplayer, some store discounts, and all the other features of the Core plan. It will cost $15 per month in the US.

Breakdown of benefits for Xbox Game Pass plans
Breakdown of benefits for Xbox Game Pass plans (Xbox)

The final change is what looks like the beginning of the end for the Xbox Game Pass for Console plan. This option will no longer be available for new customers, and if any current plan holders stop their automatic renewal, they'll have to choose a different option if they want to re-up.

This is the latest in a string of sad news stories about Game Pass. In February, we heard from Microsoft that the program had 34 million subscribers, marking a notable slowdown in growth with only 9 million new players added in the past two years. That total includes Core, which is the rebranded Xbox Live plan for playing online games with minimal other perks, meaning the number of new subscribers is even lower. And in June, Xbox's hoped-for big splash of new hardware announcements turned out to be a mere trickle of refreshes. It's a great offer for players who want to keep up with the vast number of new games being released every month, but it doesn't seem to be connecting with the audience in the way Microsoft hoped.