Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a subscription service that offers access to over 100 games on Xbox consoles, PC, and mobile devices. It also includes Xbox Live Gold, which enables online multiplayer and free monthly games, and EA Play, which adds more games from Electronic Arts. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $17 per month in the United States, but it was recently increased by $2 due to inflation and rising costs.
According to a report by The Verge, Microsoft is planning to remove the free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate benefit for most of its 238,000 employees starting from January 2024. The company began informing its staff of the new policy this week, and said that only those who are part of the Xbox and Microsoft Gaming division will still get the subscription for free. The rest of the employees will have to purchase a 12-month subscription at a discounted price from the company’s internal store.
The reason for this change is unclear, but some speculate that it could be related to the increasing popularity and demand of the service, which has over 25 million subscribers as of October 2023. Microsoft may want to reduce the cost of providing the benefit to its employees, or encourage them to support the service by paying for it.
How Did the Employees React?
Some Microsoft employees were unhappy with the decision, and voiced their objections on the company’s internal messaging platform. They argued that the benefit was a valuable perk that helped them enjoy gaming and stay connected with the Xbox community. They also pointed out that other tech companies, such as Google and Amazon, offer similar benefits to their employees, such as free access to YouTube Premium and Prime Video.
The report also revealed that Xbox boss Phil Spencer was not aware of the policy change, and said that he would look into it. Spencer is known for being a passionate gamer and a supportive leader, who often interacts with fans and employees on social media. He may try to reverse the decision or find a compromise that satisfies both the company and the staff.
What Does This Mean for Xbox Fans?
For Xbox fans, this news may not have a direct impact, as they will still be able to enjoy the service as usual. However, some may wonder if this is a sign of trouble for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, or if Microsoft will raise the price again in the future. Others may sympathize with the employees, and hope that they will not lose their enthusiasm for gaming and Xbox.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is one of the most popular and successful products of Microsoft, and has been praised by critics and gamers alike for offering a great value and variety of games. Microsoft has also been investing heavily in acquiring new studios and developing exclusive titles for the service, such as Starfield, Fable, and Avowed. The company has also been expanding the service to new markets and platforms, such as Japan, Brazil, and smart TVs.
Microsoft has not officially commented on the report, and it is possible that the policy change may be revised or canceled before it takes effect. Until then, Microsoft employees will have to decide whether they want to keep their free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate benefit for a few more months, or switch to a paid subscription.