After several months of speculation and rumors, Microsoft has finally pulled the veil back on the now-confirmed Friends & Family plan for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
The “Ultimate” tier includes access to Game Pass console, PC and cloud libraries, Xbox Live Gold (for Xbox consoles) and access to EA Play, along with various discounts and free perks.
With this subscription option, Microsoft says that “you and up to four players can enjoy Game Pass Ultimate for just € 21.99 ($22.00 USD) a month. So, the breakdown is that with one membership, up to five people can enjoy the benefits of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This comes to a cost of $4.40 USD per person each month, which equates to $52.80 across a time period of 12 months.
A single Ultimate membership is $14.99 USD per month, which comes to $179.88 USD over a 12-month period; this means the Family & Friends plan allows a customer to save $127.08 USD each year.
One neat condition for this plan is that the membership is allowed to be shared with people who live in your own country/region. So, while this does bar sharing on an international scale, at the very least it’s less restrictive than other family plans, such as with Spotify, which stipulates that it can only be shared with members of the same household.
Microsoft also mentions some other conditions, however. When this Family Plan is activated, the ranks are split between the primary account holder (the one who pays for the account and the “master” of the group) and the group members. The primary account holder is responsible for making the payments and is also the only one who is allowed to add or remove members.
Up to eight people can be accepted to the group per year, and only four at a time. The same person is only allowed to join the same group two times per year. So, if someone needs to bow out for whatever reason within the year, they only have one more opportunity to come in. But, if a few others come in before them and run up the eight-person limitation, they wouldn’t be able to rejoin anyway.
If you’re already a subscriber to the regular Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft does allow for time to be converted should you choose to upgrade it to the Friends & Family option. However, the time isn’t 1:1, for some reason.
For example, 30 days of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate converts to only 18 days of Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family. It’s unclear as to why the time doesn’t match up completely.
All of the odds and ends of this new subscription plan is explained over on the official Xbox website.
If you’re running to go and try it out, you may to have to wait, however. For now, the new plan is being tested in Colombia and Ireland, with more countries/regions planned to be added “in the next few months.” It seems that Microsoft has opted to start with small markets first to see how the service is utilized and how it performs. So, larger markets like the US, UK, Canada and others are bound to be on track for 2023 and onward.
Source: The Verge