I Did The Math To See How Much Game Pass Saved Me In 2021, And It’s A Lot
A genius writer at The Loadout calculated the value of every game added to Xbox Game Pass this year and found that, based on the base price of each game on the Microsoft Store, $6,317 worth of games were added to the subscription service in 2021 alone. That’s a lot of damn games for just $15/month, but how much value it actually offers will entirely depend on how often you use the service. I thought it was worth breaking that number down to see what $6,317 actually looks like to the average gamer. I’m a bit more of a power-user than your typical Game Pass player, but I suspect the way Game Pass has changed my playing habits will be fairly universal.
Game Pass had just over 100 games when it launched in 2017. On PC, that number has grown to 440 in 2021, with more than a dozen added (and some removed) each month. March was the biggest month of expansion on Game Pass thanks to the Bethesda acquisition. More than 20 games were added, including Skyrim, Doom Eternal, and Prey. Major first-party Xbox games also came to Game Pass this year in the form of Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Age of Empires 4, and Psychonauts 2.
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But where Game Pass really shined this year is with its indie selection. Award-worthy titles like The Artful Escape, Boyfriend Dungeon, Sable, The Forgotten City, The Ascent, and Knockout City were all added to Game Pass either on their release date or within weeks of launching. We also saw a handful of double-A and multiplayer titles like Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Back 4 Blood, Lemnis Gate, and Dead by Daylight. Finally, Game Pass’s selection of classic titles grew exponentially this year with games like Final Fantasy 13 and the entire Yakuza series.
I played a lot of games on PC Game Pass this year, but rather than just add up the total to determine how much money I saved, I decided to group each game into a category to see how much value I actually got out of Game Pass.
The first and most valuable group is the games I would have bought if they hadn’t launched on Game Pass. These are the games I fully intended to play on day one, so Game Pass saved me from having to purchase them. Halo Infinite, Back 4 Blood, Lemnis Gate, Alien: Fireteam Elite, and Outriders all launched on Game Pass the same day they went on sale on Steam. Game Pass saved me $220 on just those titles. At $180/year, I’ve already come out ahead for the year just from the games I was going to buy anyway.
The next group is the games I only played because they were on Game Pass. This list includes Exo One, The Artful Escape, The Gunk, Rift Breaker, and Forza Horizon 5. I probably would have waited for a good sale on these games, or perhaps never played them at all, if not for Game Pass. I technically saved $132 on these games, but since I wasn’t planning on buying them anyway, the real value here is in the discoverability that Game Pass offers. Personally, that’s more valuable to me than the dollars I saved on the first group because it gave me experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise had.
The final group is the games I dabbled in but didn’t finish or play much of for one reason or another. These games include Knockout City, Backbone, Dead By Daylight, Age of Empires 4, and Battlefield 2042. This is technically the least valuable category, but I still appreciated the opportunity to try these games before I bought them and regretted it. I’ve finished games I didn’t enjoy just to get my money’s worth before, but Game Pass has given me a guilt-free way to quit playing games I’m not vibing with. I’ll also include Twelve Minutes on this list, which I completed, but hated. The total value of this category is $210, and I’m very glad I didn’t spend $210 on a bunch of games I don’t like.
Game Pass saved me $382 this year, but more importantly, it helped me enjoy the games I played more. I got to try things without worrying about the investment. Some of those I loved and others I hated, but I never had to worry about whether I was wasting my money. It turns out that what everyone already knows is true: Game Pass good.
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