Come for Halo, stay for Dead Cells and Sea of Thieves. Microsoft's Game Pass service—whether you play on Xbox or PC—is one of the best deals in gaming today, with hundreds of titles available to you at any time for one monthly price (in supported countries). But there's even more value there than you might realize. Here are some extra features and hidden benefits of Game Pass, and how to make the most of them.
Expand your library with even more games
You probably know about Microsoft's first-party games, and other high-profile titles advertised on the platform. But some of those games are actually available through partner programs with developers like EA or Ubisoft—and you can link your accounts to expand your library even further.
To do so, you'll need either an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or PC Game Pass subscription, as well as the requisite launchers. For EA games (like the excellent Titanfall 2), that means you'll need the new EA app for desktops (currently in beta) rather than the older Origin client. For Ubisoft games on Game Pass (like Rainbow Six: Extraction), you'll need Ubisoft Connect installed. Then, from the Xbox app, find the game you want to play. It should prompt you to link your accounts, giving you access to even more. You can read more about Game Pass and EA Play here, and linking your Ubisoft account here.
In addition, Game Pass subscriptions come with Xbox Live Gold included—which means subscribers are privy to the Games with Gold titles. Every month, Microsoft gives away a few games to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, which you get to keep as long as your subscription is active—but you have to grab them within that redemption period. So check back every month to see what they're giving away.
Stream games anytime, anywhere
You can download and install any Game Pass game to your Xbox or PC in the traditional manner, and if you have a powerful gaming laptop like those from ROG's Zephyrus or Strix series, you can take those games with you anywhere. But you aren't limited to devices with top-tier hardware. If you want to play your favourite PC games on a low-powered laptop, or go ultra-portable and play on a phone or tablet, Game Pass lets you do that too.
Instead of downloading and installing the game on your device, Xbox Cloud Streaming–available as part of the Game Pass Ultimate subscription–runs the game on Microsoft's servers and streams the footage to you in real-time. You can stream to a laptop or ROG Flow Z13 tablet with an Xbox controller, play on your ROG Phone with the ROG Kunai 3 detachable gamepad, or even play some games–like Hades–with touch controls. And you can do it all without the hardware power required for traditional gaming. It's like streaming video from Netflix: all you need is a good network connection, and you'll have next-gen graphics at your fingertips. Check out our full guide to Xbox Cloud Gaming to see how to set it up.
Rack up extra months with Microsoft Rewards
Whenever you play games on Game Pass, you get a little back. Microsoft Rewards is a loyalty program that gives you points for completing certain tasks–like playing games, renting movies & TV shows from Microsoft, taking quizzes, or even searching with Bing. You can see all the different ways to earn points here, but even if you don't go out of your way to complete surveys and the like, you'll earn points naturally by playing games on Game Pass.
Game Pass calls these "Quests," and you can see a list of available Quests in the Game Pass mobile app (or in the Game Pass section of your Xbox, if you have one). Just tap your profile picture in the Game Pass app to see the Quests currently available, and redeem any completed quests for points. You can then use those points to redeem gift cards, in-game content, or to stack a free month of Game Pass onto your subscription. Don't forget to check the app regularly to redeem, or you might miss out!
Redeem free DLC and other perks
Your Game Pass subscription contains more than what you see in the main library, too. Its "Perks" section is filled with DLC and other bonuses that rotate on a regular basis, so there's always something new to snag. Open the Game Pass mobile app, tap your profile picture in the menu bar, and scroll down to the Perks section. You can tap any item to claim it–just be sure to do so before it expires.
You'll find all kinds of great extras here, from downloadable cosmetics and weapons, extra experience points, and in-game currency. You can also get extended free trials to other services like Hulu, Paramount+, Marvel Unlimited, and Discord Nitro. I've even seen entire seasons of TV shows pop up there before, so set yourself a reminder to check back every few weeks to see what's new.
Buy games at a discount
Game Pass may get you immediate access to hundreds of games, but sometimes you still want to buy something for your own collection. After all, not all games stay in the Game Pass library forever–many rotate in and out over time, and your love for a specific title may extend well beyond its Game Pass stint.
Thankfully, Game Pass offers exclusive discounts on many of the titles in its library if you want to buy to own. Halo Infinite's campaign, for example, costs $59.99 for most people, but is discounted to $47.99 for Game Pass subscribers. Doom Eternal, usually $39.99, is cut down to $31.99. You'll also get 10% off EA digital purchases. These discounts are particularly useful if you're pausing your subscription during a busy period of your life, or if you want to gift a game to someone else–you get a discount and a new multiplayer partner all at once.
Broaden your horizons
Finally, there's more to "value" than how many games you can play per dollar. There's a freedom that comes with access to such a large library at all times: you can try out games you would have otherwise never played, for fear they wouldn't be a good fit. I've discovered some of my all-time favorites this way, and while not all games have been my speed, I no longer have to wonder whether I'm missing out on a specific title or genre. I can try it out for a couple hours and put it aside without feeling like I wasted $50.
Moreover, browsing the Game Pass library allows you to discover indie or lesser-known titles that might not have crossed your radar. Or maybe you'll discover classic Xbox or Xbox 360 games that passed you by the first time around. You might be surprised at what you find.
You can try your first month of Game Pass for $1 at any time–but every ROG laptop comes with a free trial of the service, so you really have nothing to lose. Grab yourself a Zephyrus G14 or Flow Z13, pair it with your favourite mouse or controller, and start playing games for free today.