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Xbox Live Gold vs Xbox Game Pass: Which membership is best?

Microsoft is offering up a plethora of memberships and subscriptions for its users to make it even easier to play all your favourite games.

Xbox gamers should be familiar with both Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold, but which membership is right for you? We’re going to be running through all the key differences and similarities between these two subscriptions so you can get the most out of your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S.

Xbox Game Pass comes with a lot more free games

Xbox Game Pass is the better option if you’re looking to play a multitude of new games. All versions of Game Pass come with access to hundreds of titles, from AAA games to indie gems. New games are added to the platform all the time and users are treated to Xbox Game Studios titles the same day as release. 

Xbox Live Gold comes with two free games to play every month, which you can redeem and keep, but it doesn’t have nearly the same breadth as Game Pass. Users can save up to 50% on selected titles in the Microsoft Store, but it definitely does not come with the same massive game selection as its sibling. 

Xbox Live Gold
Image Credit (Microsoft)

Xbox Live Gold offers cheaper online multiplayer

The main draw of Xbox Live Gold is that it gives you access to online play. Depending on the game, users will need a subscription to Xbox Live Gold (or Game Pass Ultimate) to engage in online play. While this doesn’t apply to free-to-play games like Fortnite or Fall Guys, it’s a necessity if you want to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022) with your friends. 

Xbox Live Gold currently costs £6.99/$9.99 per month, making it the cheapest method of playing games online on Series X or Series S. It’s also worth noting that you can sometimes find discounted vouchers online for Live Gold, making it even more accessible.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate comes with Live Gold bundled in, which means it gives you access to all of the same perks, including access to online multiplayer. Game Pass Ultimate is currently priced at £10.99/$14.99 per month, making it a slightly more expensive option.

Xbox Game Pass comes in different tiers

Xbox Game Pass comes as three different subscriptions, including Game Pass Ultimate, PC Game Pass and Game Pass for Console. Game Pass Ultimate combines both the features of PC Game Pass and Game Pass for Console, making it a little more expensive, but giving gamers access to more platforms. 

Xbox Live Gold comes as a standalone subscription and is supported on Xbox consoles, including the next-generation Xbox Series X and Xbox One. There are no additional tiers for Live Gold, although it does come bundled in with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

Xbox Game Pass
Image Credit (Microsoft)

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundles in Xbox Live Gold

If both Game Pass and Live Gold seem intriguing to you, then you may want to consider signing up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Unlike the Console and PC-only versions, Game Pass Ultimate comes with Live Gold included. 

For the price, Game Pass Ultimate may be more affordable for gamers that want to both play online games and gain access to the Game Pass library. You can see a breakdown for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Live Gold below:

  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: $14.99/£10.99 per month
  • Xbox Live Gold: $9.99/£6.99 per month or $24.99/£17.99 for three months

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