Microsoft survey suggests Game Pass could be getting a new ad-supported tier

Rumor mill: A survey isn’t much to go off of, but Microsoft treats Game Pass as the crux of its gaming platform and has confirmed that it’s trying to expand the service with new plans. The plan that the survey describes would significantly undercut Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus.

A ResetEra user shared a Spanish survey implying that Microsoft is exploring a lower-cost, ad-supported tier for Game Pass subscriptions. In addition to access to the Game Pass library, the proposed basic plan would include online multiplayer gaming for only €3 a month, making it one of the cheapest online multiplayer subscriptions in the console market.

Online multiplayer for non-free-to-play titles on Xbox currently costs $10 a month with an Xbox Live Gold subscription, or $15 a month with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription. The cheapest PlayStation Plus plan is also $10 a month.

Lowering the minimum monthly cost of online multiplayer with a €3 Game Pass subscription (around $3 US) could convince a much larger portion of Xbox owners to try the service. The only console multiplayer subscription that is cheaper is Nintendo’s $20-a-year plan for the Switch.

The purported new tier would let users choose between playing downloaded games on Xbox or PC, similar to current Game Pass plans. However, the ad tier wouldn’t include cloud gaming, and users would have to watch ads before starting a title. It would also delay access to first-party Microsoft games for six months after launch and wouldn’t include EA Play or discounts on purchases.

A €3 subscription wouldn’t just undercut other online gaming services, but also other game catalog subscriptions. Apple Arcade’s $5 monthly price and EA Play’s $5 plan currently represent the cheapest services offering new release titles.

Nintendo’s is even more accessible overall, but only grants access to vintage games from the 80s and 90s. Furthermore, none of the companies offering gaming subscriptions have attempted ad-supported tiers yet, so it’s unclear how customers would respond.

The Microsoft survey contrasts the ad-supported plan with the family-sharing tier that Microsoft started testing in Colombia and Ireland in August. That plan – currently available to Xbox Insiders – lets up to five accounts share access to Game Pass features. Microsoft hasn’t shared a final price for the Family subscription or hinted if that will roll out globally, but the survey lists it at €22 a month.

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