Thursday, September 10, 2020

Ultimate Game Pass

I consume games differently now. 

I'm not sure why, but I bounce off more games than I used to. I try them, but find out very quickly that they're not for me. 

Old man syndrome, perhaps, or low attention span, or Do I Even Have Time to Play Games While I'm Trying To Finish This Damn Book syndrome.

Because of this, a subscription-based service has become increasingly appealing to me. With Microsoft announcing that EA Game pass was being added to Ultimate Game Pass, I decided to sign up.

This is supposed to cost $14.99 a month. 

That's not a bad price, not when Crusader Kings 3, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Spiritfarer (and many, many others) are available to play. 

As it turns out, though, Ultimate Game Pass can be had for much less than that. 

DQ Unpaid Advisor John Harwood let me know about a workaround that saved me a ton of money, and now I have Ultimate Game Pass for two years for $5 a month, not $15.

For this to work, you can't have an active Xbox Live Gold subscription. If you already have one, it's not available. Sorry about that.

I didn't, so here's what I did. 
1. Signed in to my Microsoft account.
2. Purchased two years of Xbox Live Gold for $59.99 a year.
3. Once you have XBL Gold, you'll see on option on your subscription page that invites you to try out Ultimate Game Pass for one month for $1. Select this, and it will convert your Xbox Live Gold subscription into an Ultimate Game Pass subscription--for the entire period of your current XBL Gold subscription, not just one month. 

That means I now have 24 months of Ultimate Game Pass for $5 a month. That's a crazy deal. 

A couple of notes, if you want to try this. 
1. You can do this for up to a three year XBL Gold subscription, but you only get one shot to do it. You can't add a year, convert, then add another year. I took two years as the middle ground option.
2. As far as I can tell, this isn't some kind of abuse of Microsoft. It's well known, and sites like The Verge (How to convert your Xbox Live subscription into Game Pass Ultimate) explains the method in detail (and if you want to do this, reading the article is a good idea, because there are specific screenshots, etc.).
3. The price of Game Pass is going up on September 17, so you have one week to take advantage of this, because it's not supposed to work after that. 
4. This worked for John and me, but that's a small sample size. I don't know if there are any circumstances that might prevent it from working.

I enjoyed Spiritfarer this afternoon, and it all worked fine. Download speeds were okay, nothing seemed janky (sometimes a problem with Microsoft), and  even if there do turn out to be a few rough patches, I can put up with it for the price. 

Now I just have to figure out a way to build a new system next year so that I can play Microsoft Flight Simulator in high-resolution glory. When Eli 19.1 gets out of school, I may not stay in Grand Rapids, and what better way to look for a new place to live than flying all over the world?

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