Microsoft's desire to offer an expanded multi-user version of its Xbox Game Pass subscription service was reported earlier this year, and today, an Xbox Insider blog post confirmed these plans. A preview version of this new family plan is being introduced to Xbox Insiders in Colombia and Ireland today.
With someone using the new plan, all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership benefits can be shared (via invites) with up to four others with Microsoft accounts. Invitees can then use the games and other content of the membership in full as if they were standalone Ultimate subscribers across PC, console, and cloud.
While Microsoft has not revealed the exact pricing of this five-person tier, it did say those participating in the Insider Preview will have their Ultimate subscriptions converted to the new tier. This translates to one month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate ($15) being converted to 18 days of the new family plan, most probably putting its monthly cost at around $25.
"We’re always looking for ways to deliver experiences that offer players more choice and value in how they discover and experience games with their community," Microsoft added regarding this new venture.
There are some rules attached to the new plan, at least during the preview period. While those joining the family plan via invites don't have to be Insiders themselves, they must reside in the same country as the primary account holder. Invitees also can't have a Game Pass subscription on their Microsoft account, and will need to cancel any existing plans beforehand. Moreover, those using Xbox All Access will not be able to join the preview.
Being an insider test, there are issues that still need to be worked out too:
- Invited members with an existing subscription may encounter an error when accepting an invite. We’re working on enabling these members to cancel immediately to accept the invitation.
- Attempts to upgrade twice within 24 hours will be blocked. For example, upgrading from Xbox Live Gold to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will work, but attempts to then upgrade from Ultimate to Xbox Game Pass – Insider Preview will be blocked for 24 hours. There is currently a generic error code shown when this is attempted.
- Microsoft account family members will not receive an email when automatically added to a group. Primary account holders can share benefits with Microsoft account family members automatically. We’re working on sending a confirmation email, and family members do not need to explicitly accept an invite to get access.
- A Primary account holder may see a “Something went wrong” error when trying to share directly to two or more Microsoft account family members at once after purchase. Please wait a short time and try again. Alternatively, try sharing via email or link.
- Error while trying to purchase Xbox Game Pass – Insider Preview plan. If you’re blocked from purchase with this error code: PEX-CatalogAvailabilityDataNotFound, please report a problem following the steps outlined in the Insider subreddit here. You may be able to work around this by restarting the Microsoft Store and trying to purchase again.
- Subscription sharing “Get help” link on account.microsoft.com links to the support.xbox.com home page instead of a specific support article with sharing help.
- Invitation and group management related emails are currently only in English. We are working on additional languages for these emails.
More details on this family subscription plan, like monthly and yearly pricing, its official name, and any further restrictions, should come to light as the Insider sessions come to a close.
Update 15:10 PT / 18:10 ET:
Tom Warren of the Verge has spotted actual pricing for Family Game Pass Insiders in Ireland.