Best Game Pass and Xbox Live Prime Day Deals – CNET

Whether you’ve managed to get your hands on the next-gen Xbox Series X, opted for the sleek and compact Series S or are still gaming away on your trusty Xbox One, a subscription is on the most cost-effective ways to get the most out of your console. However, signing up may be a little bit more complicated than you think. Microsoft offers three different subscription options, and while there’s some overlap between the different memberships, each offers its own benefits and drawbacks. 

To help you figure out which plan works best for your needs, we’ve broken down how the different memberships work. And to help you save some cash along the way, we’ve also rounded up some of the best deals you’ll find out there at the moment on these plans. Fortunately, with Prime Day less than a week away, the deals are in full swing at the moment. Amazon has already rolled out tons of early deals, with plenty of competitors offering their own discounts to get in on the action. We’ll continue to update this page as deals come and go, so be sure to check back often to make sure you’re getting the best price available.

Gold vs. Game Pass vs. Ultimate

There are not one but three different services that you can subscribe to to beef up your gaming experience on the Xbox, so which should you get? It really depends on what type of gamer you are. You can check out our detailed breakdown of Game Pass versus Live Gold here, but these are the major differences so you can pick the plan that’s right for you.


If you delight in the multiplayer mayhem of online gaming, a Gold membership is pretty much a necessity. To play nearly any Xbox game online, whether it’s running and gunning in the latest competitive shooter or mowing down hordes of zombies with your buddies on the other side of the country, you’ll need to have an Xbox Live Gold membership to do it — except that, as of last April, free-to-play games like Fortnite and Warzone will no longer require one. Gold costs $10 per month, or you can sign up for a three-month subscription for $25 and save a few bucks each month.

Game Pass

If you prefer a single-player experience, Game Pass is a great bargain. Signing up gives you access to more than 400 games from the Xbox catalog. There’s a huge array of games available, from major titles like Batman: Arkham Knight and Back 4 Blood, to small charming indies like Hades and Firewatch. Plus classics from the Xbox 360 era like Mass Effect and Fallout: New Vegas. 

There are two versions of this subscription, one for console users, and one for PC users, but they both cost $10 per month. The only major difference is that the PC plan includes a subscription to EA Play, which adds a few more titles to your library, and provides some exclusive rewards and content for select EA games. There’s also an ongoing promotion for the PC subscription that allows new subscribers to get their first month for just $1.

Game Pass Ultimate

Game Pass Ultimate is the best of both worlds. At $15 per month, an Ultimate subscription bundles both Gold and Game Pass for $5 less than it would cost to sign up separately. You’ll get access to the entire Game Pass library on your console, PC and mobile device, as well as a Gold membership so you can play games online as well. You’ll also get perks like exclusive offers and in-game content, and it includes the EA Play subscription. For all-around gamers who don’t want to compromise, this is your best bet. And new users signing up now can get their first month for just $1.

Best subscription deals available right now

Unlike the comparable subscriptions for PlayStation, there’s no annual membership plan for either Gold or Game Pass, which makes it a little bit harder to consistently find them at a good value. While deals directly from Xbox turn up occasionally, they’re usually just for new subscribers. However, other retailers and third parties do occasionally have deals on digital codes to help you save some cash each month. Here are the best ones we’ve found that are available right now.


If you’re on the hunt for the best possible value overall, this is the plan for you. Ultimate already saves you $5 a month by bundling a Gold and Game Pass subscription, and this three-month subscription is on sale for $15 less than it would cost you to pay monthly. At $30 total, that brings the per-month cost down to just $10, instead of the usual $15. Bargains on Ultimate subscriptions are pretty slim, so unless you’re a new subscriber, this is the best value you’ll find out there at the moment.


If you do happen to be a new subscriber to Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft is offering a pretty incredible deal right now. New subscribers can get their first month for just $1, saving you $14 off the usual monthly cost. After the first month, your membership will revert back to the usual $15 per month. Overall, this is by far the best deal you’ll find on any Xbox subscription, so long as you’re eligible for the discount.


If you’re looking for multiplayer mayhem, this is going to be your best bet for a good value. This bundle from Best Buy costs $60 for a whole year, which cuts the monthly cost in half to just $5.


If you’re not totally sure if you need or want a Gold subscription, this is a great chance to try it out for a while before you commit to an entire year. CDKeys currently has a three-month Gold membership available for just $7, which drops the monthly cost down to just over $2. Note that this deal appears to be exclusive to console users.

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