Today, Microsoft unveiled Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a service that bundles the pre-existing Xbox Game Pass service with Xbox Live Gold for $14.99 a month, a $5 savings on subscribing to both services individually. The new service is set to launch later this year, but will be rolled out to certain Xbox Insider participants starting today, in a similar manner to dashboard updates.
“A top request [users] 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,” said Ben Decker, Microsoft’s Head of Gaming Services. “Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will include all of the benefits of Xbox Live Gold with Xbox Game Pass. That means the full Xbox Game Pass library of over 100 high quality games, and Xbox Live Gold online multiplayer, in one convenient membership.”
The move comes as not much of a surprise, as Microsoft is currently expected to reveal plans for their next generation of Xbox systems at E3 later this year. Those plans are currently rumored to include all-digital Xbox consoles, in addition to traditional disc-based systems. Microsoft is also practically guaranteed to reveal an all-digital Xbox One S that will likely take advantage of the system.
Xbox Game Pass has been at the forefront of Microsoft’s marketing as the eighth generation of consoles starts to wind down in preparation for the next batch of consoles. Sony has already started talking about their forthcoming PlayStation 5 in explicit terms, and Microsoft likely won’t be too far behind. Microsoft attempted to push an all-digital future when they originally revealed the Xbox One’s always-online requirements, but the company pulled back after serious backlash from potential customers. With the relative popularity of Game Pass, it’s at least possible that the next Xbox will have an always-online model like the company originally intended.