As rumored, Microsoft will combine Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass into a single monthly subscription called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. (Both services will still be available separately as well.)
“Thank you for taking the time to help us continually improve the service [as] your feedback directly contributes to the evolution of Xbox Game Pass,” Microsoft Head of Gaming Services Ben Decker wrote. “A top request you have shared from day one is to provide an option to get Xbox Game Pass and the most advanced multiplayer network, Xbox Live Gold, in a single membership.”
Xbox Game Pass will cost $14.99 per month, but Microsoft is not yet stating whether it will offer subscriptions in other time-frames (three or six months, perhaps, or one year), while it does do so for the separate Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass subscriptions. Today, a one-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold will set you back $59.99, while one year of Xbox Game Pass costs $119.99. So one year of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, billed monthly, amounts to about $180, the same price as the two subscriptions combined.
It’s actually worse than that, of course: Xbox Live Gold is often on sale, and you can currently get three months of Xbox Game Pass for just $1. So my hope is that Microsoft offers lower costs with longer Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions as we get closer to launch: The service isn’t expected to become publicly available until “later this year.”
To be fair, Xbox Game Pass—which basically requires Xbox Live Gold—is an unparalleled value. Gamers gain access to over 100 mostly-high-quality game titles, including all first party (Xbox Studios) games as they’re released at retail.