Xbox Game Pass is to gaming what Netflix is to movies and shows. With rotating titles and special discounts for subscribers to access, the service is an attractive deal. Although it’s been around for a while, it’s recently gained more attention from PC gamers thanks to its global expansion and the Microsoft Store’s revamped Xbox app.
PC Game Pass is known for offering first-day releases, indie and AAA catalogs, and exclusive discounts. That said, there are plenty of other cool features on PC that can really maximize the experience if you know where to look.
10 Remote download
One of the best features that comes with PC Game Pass is remote download. All you need to do is get the accompanying mobile app, and you can queue games to download directly to your computer.
This is useful if you want to download long download times of large games ahead of time. It’s also handy if you just want to have your game ready and waiting for you the moment you find something you like. This feature is available for any pass holder, but users on Ultimate can also access cloud gaming and streaming.
9 Visit EA Play
EA Play is another subscription that allows users to access titles created by you guessed it, Electronic Arts. Instead of paying for a separate subscription at all, you get access to EA Play along with your Game Pass subscription.
This is a fantastic deal that significantly expands your gaming options. You don’t even need to own Ultimate to get it. All you have to do is download the EA Play client, and when you get the game, it will start showing up in your Game Pass library as well.
Another highlight of this is the EA Game Trial feature, which allows you to try out a new version for up to ten hours before it’s released. If you do choose to buy your trial game, you’ll get a members-only discount at checkout.
8 ultimate benefit
This feature is only available to users who have upgraded Ultimate Pass, but it’s worth mentioning the benefits it brings. If you click on the Perks section in Game Pass, you’ll see special offers on consumables, in-game items, and other services.
Some cool Perks that have become popular include Apex Legends’ weapon charms, a free Discord Nitro limited subscription, and Phantasy Star Online 2’s bonus XP. If you find that none of the Perks actually sing to you, the good news is that they change every month.
7 party chat
Online multiplayer games are a major part of gaming and may never go away. Whether you’re lobbying with strangers or having fun with friends, it’s an engaging way to experience gaming today.
That said, a lot of people end up using Discord to talk to each other because in-game party chat can be confusing, problematic, or just awkward if there are other players not in your circle. Even if you’re not dealing with toxic random numbers in the lobby, you might try to use noise suppression or avoid noise-based triggers in your game. Then you have to deal with some players’ PCs being overloaded with Discord or a server with too many channels.
That’s why it’s so cool that Xbox Game Pass includes a party system from the Xbox Game Bar. You just press Win + G and invite your friends to your party. From there, you can have group chats and speak on the voice channel without quitting the game. You can even party together if you’re both playing different games.
6 Unlimited access to Xbox Game Studios games
As is the nature of subscription services, your favorite titles will eventually come and go. Even if you do get a warning when the game leaves Game Pass, it’s still a bummer. However, put an Xbox Game Studios credit on the game and you’re pretty solid.
Although they never explicitly mention it, Xbox never removes its own games from Game Pass. In fact, things like the Halo series have been available through the pass since launch. Minecraft is also showing no signs of leaving the service, with users having access to various versions. So, if you want to get a Game Pass just to meet Sea of Thieves, you can breathe easy and sail smoothly.
5 play later
This feature is for players who have tons of games they want to play but don’t have the time or energy to do. It’s nice to have one convenient place to view all of these titles so you can check them out anytime.
Every time you tap a game in Game Pass, you can tap the “Play Later” symbol to add it to your “Play Later” list. It’s great for bookmarking fun games you don’t want to forget, much the same way Watch Later does for sites like YouTube and Netflix. It’s also helpful if you’re interested in the game but you don’t have the storage space to install it yet.
4 Exclusive pre-installed
Today, a lot of musicians are all about “pre-storage” when they hype their new singles. With PC Game Pass, you can pre-install unreleased games. This way you can start them the moment they come out.
You can periodically check for games that can be pre-installed by checking the “Coming to Game Pass” section in the desktop app. This feature is also separate from the game trial you can get in the app for new EA releases.
3 “What will you play next?” Dynamo
Sometimes you want to play, but you just don’t know what you really want to start. This is where “what are you going to play next?” The generator comes in.
It’s a fun little feature that gives you random game suggestions when you click the “surprise me” button. Just keep scrolling down the Game Pass catalog and you’ll see it eventually. It flips through the entire selection, so it can offer an interesting mix of AAA and indie games to suit your tastes. There’s also no limit to the number of clicks if you’re feeling particularly indecisive.
2 Subscription Rewards Policy
If someone said you could get a Game Pass subscription for free just by playing enough games and completing a few tasks, you’d think it was a scam. Fortunately, if you use Microsoft Rewards correctly, it’s a completely legal thing to do.
Sadly, recent changes have made this strategy only available to Xbox owners. If you accumulate enough bonus points on your console, you can choose to get one month of PC Game Pass access for free. Then you just redeem the generated code in the Xbox app. What makes this a better move is that you can actually stack it for up to 36 months. You can even track your rewards on your mobile app to make sure you’re still earning points for those sweet, sweet PC games.
1 performance checker
Few things are as frustrating as launching a long-awaited game, only to realize that your computer can’t actually handle it. Popular games can have very demanding graphics, and even smaller versions sometimes end up demanding more components than expected.
The good news is that Xbox Game Pass for PC has a built-in performance checker that lets you check how the game performs on other systems similar to your own. It covers most of the games in the catalog and you can view it by clicking on the title you are interested in playing.
Next to Game Art, you should see the Inspector showing how the game is running on your PC. Just make sure you join the free-to-play Xbox Insider Program.
Next up: The best Zelda-like games on Game Pass