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PC Game Pass Ultimate Review: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Earlier

Mohsen is a video game enthusiast who happens to be a content writer. You can find him geeking out over different games when not writing.


I've been a Game Pass Ultimate member for the last two months, playing AAA games on my PC for free. But I wish I had more info about Microsoft's subscriptions before subscribing to one.

You don't have to go through the same struggles as me, though.

The following are five crucial things to know before getting Game Pass Ultimate for your PC, which help you choose the right plan, set a budget, and find out what you'll get for your money.

Game Pass Ultimate for PC Explained

Microsoft offers a monthly, Netflix-like subscription called Game Pass, which comes in three types: Console, PC, and Ultimate; the latter offers cloud gaming and Live Gold access on top of a free library of games.

What happens is that you activate Game Pass Ultimate on your Microsoft Store account, install the Xbox app on Windows, and then start downloading games for free.

It's not lifetime access, though. You may lose the games in either of these scenarios:

  1. The game leaves the Game Pass library—just like Netflix shows going away.
  2. You opt-out of the subscription.

You may use Game Pass Ultimate on your Xbox, Android mobile, or Windows PC. But the other two subscriptions are device-exclusive, hence the name.

Here's What No One Told Me About Game Pass Ultimate on PC

I had to find out these Xbox features the hard way. But you don't have to.

Running out of space because of Game Pass Ultimate games.

Running out of space because of Game Pass Ultimate games.

#1. Free Storage Might be an Issue.

You need at least 150 GB of free storage to play one AAA game at a time. But make it 1 TB if you want to treat your PC as a gaming console and fill it with top-notch video games.

Let's say you want to install three of the most popular titles on Game Pass: Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 4, and Ark: Survival Evolved. So, you should expect a total file size of 161.42 GB.

I had a horrible experience regarding free storage because I forgot to check how much space I got left on my PC. By the time I finished installing Xbox app, I had found out it was less than 30 GB. So, I didn't get to play most of the games on my wish list.

Most Game Pass Ultimate games on PC require an Xbox controller.

Most Game Pass Ultimate games on PC require an Xbox controller.

#2. You Need an Xbox Controller.

Game Pass Ultimate games require you to connect an Xbox controller, or else they won't let you play.

So, consider an added $70 expense (or $140 if you like co-op games) on top of the monthly $14.99.

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Thankfully, I had a pair of old—but still functional—pair of Xbox one controllers. So, I managed to cut back on the costs. But Nowhere in the journey was I warned about the necessity of an Xbox controller. So, I believe Microsoft should be upfront about it because many PC gamers assume a mouse and keyboard are all they need.

#3. Cloud Gaming Sucks.

One of the main differences between Game Pass for PC and Ultimate is that the latter comes with Cloud Gaming access. So, it allows you to play AAA or indie titles over the internet without needing installation.

But it's not the best experience you could have because of two reasons:

  • The Cloud Gaming on Game Pass Ultimate is still in beta. Microsoft is constantly tweaking things to compete with Stadia's better-functioning streaming service. So, bugs, malfunctions, and disconnections are all over the place—at least for now.
  • You need a solid, above-average internet connection to stream games seamlessly. Otherwise, you'll experience a pixelated, low-res, lagging gameplay which is anything but fun.

Unlike the controller requirement, Microsoft has been open about the state of streaming features, and it actually tells you that it's in beta access in advance.

However, app errors and connection issues are not the only downsides of Cloud Gaming. You should also keep an eye on its availability in your region. Yes, unfortunately, streaming is a region-exclusive feature available to certain countries mentioned on Xbox's website.

Don't subscribe to the Game Pass Ultimate plan before ensuring your region can benefit from all the features.

There are lots of indie games on Game Pass Ultimate PC.

There are lots of indie games on Game Pass Ultimate PC.

#4. Indie Games Have Overtook Game Pass.

There are over 160 indie games in the Game Pass Ultimate library for PC, which makes up to %37 of the entire catalog.

But it's still a good deal because %22 of the 433 games (roughly 98 titles) are day-one releases, and the other %41 are made up of classic, remastered, and mid-tire video games.

You need to be open to indie games, though. There will be moments when you're left with no options by a goofy-looking game that is less than 2 GB but has promising ratings. And you have to appreciate those moments because some of these low-spec games are actually good. Think Undertale, Hades, Limbo, Rime, or Stardew Valley.

#5. You Should Install EA App, too.

You can't play Electronic Arts games without installing the EA App on your Windows PC.

Having access to EA Play titles is one of the perks of Game Pass Ultimate. But the downside is you should install a third-party application that is in BETA and, therefore, unstable. Plus, you need to set up an EA account and link it to your Xbox App account, which can be a pain in the neck.

But you have to deal with it because the EA titles on Game Pass are irresistible. To name a few, FIFA, Madden, Mass Effect Collection, Sims, Battlefield, Dead Space, Crysis, and Need for Speed.

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Should You Get Game Pass Ultimate for Your PC?

If it's your first time getting a Game Pass subscription, you should definitely get the Ultimate plan because it costs only $1 for newcomers. You can always cancel the membership or downgrade to a PC tier if it wasn't your thing. It's a win-win offer.

Game Pass Ultimate is a cost-effective deal. For $14.99 per month, you get nearly 100 day-one release titles, Cloud Gaming, Live Gold, and EA games, which would cost over $50 if you were to pay each separately.

But you would do fine with a Standard PC Game Pass ($9.99) if you don't play online games, don't care about Cloud Gaming, and dislike Electronic Arts titles.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Mohsen Baqery

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