Microsoft Axes Game Pass $1 Trial Ahead of Starfield Launch

As the gaming community eagerly anticipates the release of Starfield next month, Microsoft’s decision to remove the $1 trial from its Xbox Game Pass subscription service has raised eyebrows. Starfield, Xbox’s flagship title for 2023, is set to be available to Game Pass subscribers on day one, making it even more compelling for gamers to join the subscription service.

End of the $1 Game Pass Trial

  • Trial Duration: Initially, Microsoft provided a 30-day trial for $1. This was then shortened to 14 days earlier this year.
  • Current Status: As it stands, Microsoft has completely eradicated any form of the Game Pass trial.
  • Official Statement: Microsoft has yet to release an official statement regarding the trial’s cancellation.

Speculations abound, suggesting that the forthcoming release of Starfield might be the primary driver behind this decision. Some savvy users have reportedly been circumventing the “new subscribers only” stipulation of the $1 trial by creating new accounts. With Starfield’s release poised to be a monumental event, it seems plausible that Microsoft wishes to curb such practices.

Starfield’s Release Date

Starfield is scheduled for release on September 6th for Xbox Series X|S and PC. However, those who opt for the Premium Edition will enjoy early access, allowing them to dive into the game on September 1st. In a refreshing move for global players, the game’s release has been synchronized to be at the same time worldwide.

  • Early Access: For Premium Edition owners, the game becomes available at 5 p.m. PT on August 31st.
  • Global Release: The game’s worldwide release is on September 5th, ensuring no player has to wait until their local midnight to play.
  • Pre-loading: Gamers eager to jump right into Starfield can preload the game to ensure seamless gameplay upon its release.

Game Pass: A Boon for Gamers

Microsoft’s Game Pass has always stood out as an exceptional deal for Xbox and PC gamers. At a mere $10 a month, subscribers are granted access to a plethora of games – a library so vast that finishing every title within a month is an unattainable feat. Previously, Microsoft used to entice first-time users with a $1 trial to explore its expansive downloadable game library. However, with the recent price hike for its premium Game Pass Ultimate service, which now costs $17 and includes game streaming via the cloud, the trial’s duration was halved to 14 days.

Rising Costs in Gaming Services

The gaming industry has observed escalating prices for streaming services. The paradigm shift from traditional gaming to cloud-based streaming systems, although convenient, seems to be nudging the cost upwards. With “cord-cutting” becoming a trend, it remains to be seen whether gamers actually end up saving in the long run.

In this landscape, Microsoft’s move to cut out the trial period entirely indicates a strategic decision ahead of major game launches. However, the true impact of this on Xbox and PC gamers, especially those sitting on the fence about subscribing, will be unveiled in time.

For further insights on this change, one can visit the Polish gaming site XGP, which first reported the absence of the Game Pass trial.

In conclusion, while Starfield remains a much-anticipated title for 2023, Microsoft’s move with Game Pass is a clear indicator of the strategic shifts gaming companies might adopt in the future, balancing game accessibility with revenue optimization.

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