Following a wave of rumors and leaks, Xbox has finally revealed some details about its account-sharing plans for Game Pass. On the phone Game Pass Friends and Family, it is not yet available in the United States. But when (or if) it finally becomes available outside of the two countries Microsoft is testing, it looks like it’s going to be a great thing.
Today, Game Pass is already one of the best deals in gaming. For $10 a month, you can get access to a rotating library of hundreds of games on Xbox or PC. For $15 per month, you can sign up for higher tiers: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which offers combined access to Xbox and PC libraries, bundles in the EA Play game library (a similar game-on-demand from sports game publisher service), and offers the ability to stream over 100 games. Game Pass Friends and Family is pretty much the Ultimate tier, except you can share one account between five people, with one person designated as the primary account holder.
The Friends and Family Game Pass is currently being trialled in Colombia and the Republic of Ireland, costing 49,000 COP or €21.99 per month, respectively. (As of this writing, that fee converts to $10.92 or $21.99 in US currency.) Xbox Game Pass Ultimate currently costs 29,000 COP in Colombia and €12.99 in Ireland.
Anyone who signs up for Game Pass will see the month of their existing subscription converted to a number of months on the sharing plan. If you currently sign up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, any remaining months will turn into 18 days of Game Pass Friends and Family. Those who sign up for the piecemeal tier will see their subscription converted to a 12-day Friends and Family Game Pass.
On paper, assuming Microsoft maintains a similar pricing scheme around the world, Game Pass Friends and Family is worth considering. Assuming the company runs with higher numbers, a price point of around $22 currently prevailing in Ireland, that’s still a very good deal. Get four friends on board, and you’re all paying less than $5 for everything you should have tripled the cost. (This is also a clever way for Microsoft to increase the number of Game Pass subscribers, which missed the target recently.)
There are some limitations, however. If you’re the account holder, you can only have four additional people on an account at any given time, and can only share with eight unique accounts over the course of a calendar year. And it’s region-locked: The primary account holder can only add members who live in the same country or region.
It is unclear if there are specific plans to bring Game Pass Friends and Family to regions beyond the two Microsoft is currently testing the plan in, or what a potential timeline there would be. (Representatives for Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.) But Microsoft published an encyclopedic FAQ on the Xbox US support page, shows at least some consideration for American players. It noted, “future countries may be added in the next few months.”