Microsoft set to hit back at Sony with upgraded Xbox Game Pass subscription - report

Xbox Game Pass illustration
A "glaring omission" could be about to be resolved. Photo credit: Getty Images

Just days after Sony unveiled its updated PlayStation Plus subscription tiers, there are reports Microsoft is about to upgrade its Game Pass service.

Windows Central said Microsoft is close to unveiling a 'family plan' to allow users to share their game access with other people.

Described by the website as a "glaring omission" from Game Pass, the report says the new functionality could be set to launch "sometime this year".

"According to trusted sources familiar with Microsoft's efforts, we can now confirm that Xbox is moving ahead with an Xbox Game Pass Family Plan," the site said.

"From our information, paying on a higher tier for an Xbox Game Pass Family Plan will net access for five players for games across the entire library, and will be far cheaper than paying for five separate accounts as is necessary today."

The site said it would utilise Microsoft's Family Account system that is used for Office 365, allowing players within the same country to use a single subscription managed by a central account holder.

Although there is no confirmation from Microsoft this change will happen, if it does, Kiwi gamers should be able to take advantage of the savings.

While PlayStation won't be offering all of its new tiers to PS4 and PS5 owners in Aotearoa, historically Microsoft has done so.

The top tier of Game Pass, the Ultimate subscription, costs $19.99 per month and gives access to a library of hundreds of games across both PC and consoles, as well as multiplayer gaming and access to Electronic Arts' EA Play subscription.

Game Pass Ultimate costs US$14.99 in the United States.

The top tier for Sony is the Premium level, which will set back users US$17.99. However as Kiwis currently don't have access to PlayStation Now, gamers here will instead be offered a cheaper Deluxe package.

"For markets without cloud streaming, PS Plus Deluxe will be offered at a lower price compared to Premium, and includes a catalogue of beloved classic games from the original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP generations to download and play, along with time-limited game trials," the company said.

That leaves Sony gamers in New Zealand well short of the functionality and breadth of titles Microsoft offers, however the service may be rolled out here in the future.

Sony's services also lack 'Day One' games: Blockbuster titles made available to Game Pass subscribers to play on the day they're released at no extra charge. This has included the likes of Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite.

"This is not a road that we've gone down in the past. And it's not a road that we're going to go down with this new service," Jim Ryan, president & CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment told website