Signing up for the Xbox Game Pass family plan is a socially inconvenient nightmare


I should clarify; family plan subscription services are a good thing. Password sharing is obviously a long-standing gray area for TV streaming services, but isn’t always realistic if you and your friends want to watch things at the same time. Being able to get a discounted price on an account for a service by essentially buying multiple accounts at once is the friendliest thing these capitalist mega-corporations do.

For sites like netflix, family packages are a smart way to get the message across of a show and, therefore, of one’s own service. You and your friends split a monthly bill, watch Stranger Things, then tell your other friends about the show and this handy way to save some money, then they also sign up with a group of other friends . This model makes even more sense for gaming.


Related: Game Pass, Netflix and the curse of having too many choices

The number of communities I know of that are already hosting game nights just by watching what’s going on Game pass is wild. I no longer need to buy a full-priced game that might have support cut off in less than a year, or that I’ll only play once a week when I can coordinate my friends to be in line. Instead, if my friends and I have Game Pass, not only is another part of game night pre-planning removed, but if either of us hates Back 4 Bloodhey, at least they didn’t spend 70€ on it.

That’s why a Game Pass family plan sounds so stellar. Not only does this mean these groups of friends can get together at a discount, but it extends Xbox’s reach to a much wider audience: non-gaming friends. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve tried to arrange game time with friends who own consoles but aren’t capital-G gamers, only to have it fail because one of them didn’t have Xbox Live or the game. But the idea of ​​being able to say, “Hey, I’m going to send you an invite to this thing that will give you access to hundreds of games and we can play online together anytime, and all you have to do is pay me a five cent the next time we meet?’ In theory, this seems like the perfect way to jump-start my social life stifled by years of pandemic living. In theory.

Some of the Back 4 Blood Cleaners -- Evangelo, Holly, Hoffman, and Karlee -- standing together

For some people (currently those living in Ireland, like me, or Colombia) this will most certainly work. Signing up your siblings or friends will be a great way to reconnect. For me though? Setting up an Xbox Game Pass family plan has been a bit of a social nightmare. Some of these reasons are understandable, some of them are my fault and not Xbox’s fault, but others seem to be distinctly unfriendly consumer choices by a company that so far has grasped all opportunities to get into the good graces of the players.

The most reasonable hurdle I encountered was finding friends in my country who actually owned an Xbox. The Game Pass family plan is currently region locked and will likely remain so once it is officially released. It may just be the circles I run in, but Ireland has always felt a bit PlayStation– country centered. The 360 ​​was huge here, but for the most part Ireland was on the Sony team. I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever seen a handful of Xbox Ones in thrift stores or friends’ homes, and since the start of this gen, I’ve only heard of friends trying to track down PS5s for sale, not Series X.

Most of my local friends owning Sony machines, I looked online. Eventually, after about a week of DMing, I found three Twitter mutuals to share this five-person plan with – that would be enough to test this out. It wouldn’t be the best value, but if we split the €21.99 per month four ways, it would still be cheaper than each of us paying €9.99 per month. As much as I hated this cold calling process, it felt like an understandable concession. Of course, this service is region-locked because it’s aimed at families, but I can’t help but feel that many families are becoming much more spread out than ever as children reach adulthood and often move to different countries.

Xbox Game Pass Family Plan Pricing

But fine, I understand why a company would design a system this way. For one person, everything worked very well. They had just gotten an Xbox and hadn’t even created an Xbox Live account yet, so I basically offered them Game Pass with no strings attached for a month. I sent them an invite through the Microsoft website, they accepted and off they went for the races. All games, all cloud streaming, online gaming, everything! The other two, however, quickly sent me a message:

“If you want to join immediately without waiting for your rest [Game Pass] timeout, check the box below and select Join. This will cancel your current subscription(s) and you will now drop whatever time you have left. Note that you will not receive a refund. This action is final.

Both players had already taken advantage of Xbox’s user-friendly program when Microsoft made Xbox Live Gold a monthly subscription only. This allowed people who purchased up to three years of Gold subscriptions to convert them in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions. As a result, some players still have years of prepaid GP Ultimate. However, now the company that once told them they could stack the subscriptions for later was telling them that to join my family plan, even for a month, they would have to drop all of their stacked months.

It should also be noted that I control this plane. I invited them, and it’s a recurring monthly bill. Since I was just testing this, I was only going to subscribe for a month and notify others joining the plan of this, but as far as I can tell they didn’t get any notification when I turned billing off recurring. This means it’s not out of the question that you could sign up for a family plan with knowledge to save money only to turn on your Xbox one day and find out the host didn’t pay that month. .

Obviously the friends with stacked Game Pass Ultimate months didn’t accept the invite and after the whole ordeal I was too embarrassed to ask the last one to pay their €5 let alone the €11 that they would actually pay with only two of us on the plan. Not everyone just bought a console. People already have these subscriptions and still want to share, but after a month of trying to set everything up, I currently have a family plan that I pay $22 for, with only one other person on it. The Game Pass family plan might be a good deal from Microsoft’s side, but, boy, is it terrible as a gamer.

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