Microsoft is eliminating the free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate benefit for most of its 238,000 employees and some aren’t happy about it. Sources close to Microsoft’s plans say so The edge that the company began informing its employees this week that in January 2024, the free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate benefit for permanent Microsoft employees will no longer be available.
I understand that Xbox employees will continue to receive this benefit, but the vast majority of Microsoft employees who are not part of Xbox/Microsoft Gaming will see the benefit disappear next year. Microsoft employees will be able to purchase a 12-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription at a discounted price from the company’s internal store.
Some Microsoft employees used the company’s internal messaging platform to voice their objections to the removal of this benefit. Employee messages even prompted Xbox chief Phil Spencer to respond, emphasizing that he was unaware of the changes and was looking into the situation.
We reached out to Microsoft for comment on the Game Pass removal, but the company did not respond in time for publication.
Microsoft’s benefits removal comes months after Xbox Game Pass first saw a price hike. Microsoft has increased Xbox Game Pass Ultimate from $14.99 per month to $16.99, alongside price increases for the Xbox Series X console in most markets outside the United States. Microsoft also launched Xbox Game Pass Core in September to replace Xbox Live Gold.
Xbox chief Phil Spencer warned over a year ago that Xbox Game Pass console growth had slowedMicrosoft choosing to focus more on PC Game Pass throughout 2023. Microsoft hasn’t provided updated Game Pass subscriber numbers for almost two years now.
Microsoft said Xbox Game Pass had reached 25 million subscribers in January 2022, but we haven’t had an update since – although Star Field, Forza Motorsportand many other games contributed to Game Pass throughout 2023.