The Xbox Game Pass subscription service has been discussed by some as the gaming equivalent of Netflix. Subscribe, and access a huge amount of content, rather than having to buy each individual game outright. It's a model which stands out in comparison to the offerings from its competitors.
But one criticism of the Game Pass service is that it doesn't currently offer anything like a family plan. This is where it is different from other subscription services, such as Netflix or Spotify, which allow one account to be shared between multiple users.
While there isn't officially a family plan, is it possible to share your game pass with your family? And does Game Pass work on more than one device? We'll answer these questions, so you know exactly what you can and can't do, with a Game Pass subscription.
Does Xbox Game Pass work on multiple devices?
The central idea behind the Game Pass, is that your subscription is linked to your Xbox profile, rather than a specific console. So this means that you can use your Game Pass on any device that supports the service - an Xbox, a PC, or an Android device. So in that sense, yes, it does work on multiple devices.
But the question can also be interpreted as: does Game Pass work on multiple devices at the same time? The answer in this case, is a little more nuanced. It is possible, just, to use Game Pass on two devices. In order to do this, you would need to designate an Xbox as your 'Home' console.
Anyone who then uses that console can access the benefits of Game Pass. Meanwhile, you would be able to sign in on another device using your Xbox profile, and also enjoy access to your Game Pass.
Can I share my subscription with my family?
As we mentioned above, no family plan exists at the moment. Phil Spencer has publicly stated that this is something they'd like to do. There would undoubtedly be commercial concerns around making it profitable for 3rd party game developers. But for families that have more than one Xbox, or kids off at university, a family plan would be a great idea.
Until such times as that becomes a reality however, sharing your Game Pass is difficult to do. Unless you share your Xbox profile username and password (which no-one ever recommends!) then the Game Pass is intended for the original subscriber only.
It would undoubtedly create problems if you attempted to sign in from two different locations at once. The only other way to share your pass is to make use of the home Xbox feature that we alluded to earlier.
There you have it. At the moment, Xbox Game Pass is a great value proposition for an individual. But if you are planning to buy one subscription and share it among multiple people, you're going to struggle.
The current alternative is to buy a separate subscription for each account. Not the cheapest option, but potentially still better value than buying individual games on a regular basis.
What About That Xbox Game Pass Family Plan?
We stated above that a family plan does not currently exist. But that might be set to change.
A report from Windows Central earlier this year suggests that a family plan is in the works, and could be announced in the near future. This would work in the way you would probably expect, allowing multiple users to share access to a single package.
There is plenty that remains uncertain, but there is a suggestion that the family plan would offer a variety of tiers, with the highest tier allowing up to five separate players to share access. Which would almost certainly be significantly cheaper than paying for separate accounts.
Microsoft has reportedly had to work hard to figure out how they would distribute royalties, and pay developers for their games. This would also explain why this hasn't been available before.
Hopefully, we'll hear more about it in the very near future.