In a surprising move, Microsoft has discontinued the £1/$1 trial offer for its Xbox Game Pass service, just as the highly anticipated game Starfield is set to launch. This comes after the company already reduced the trial period from a full month to just 14 days in early August.
“This timing could have a significant impact on user experience and subscriptions, especially given that Starfield is one of Microsoft’s most eagerly awaited releases this year,” said a gaming analyst. “A lot of potential new subscribers could be lost.”
Historically, the discounted trial subscription has been a crucial tool in enticing users to the service, allowing them to play brand new Microsoft titles upon their release without shelling out for the full retail price. Starfield, however, will not provide any opportunities for a public hands-on preview prior to its release, making the Game Pass offer even more enticing to potential buyers.
The rate for a full-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass is now set at £9 for console, £8 for PC, and £13 for the Ultimate package. For those who wish to purchase Starfield outright, the console price will be £70.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft had temporarily removed the £1/$1 trial offer at the end of March, only to bring it back in July. Whether this discontinuation is permanent or another temporary pause is unclear, as Microsoft has yet to comment on the matter.
The removal of this offer could signal a change in Microsoft’s subscription strategy, particularly in light of the imminent release of such a major title. The change may affect not just individual gamers but the broader dynamics of how new releases could impact subscription services in the future.
Given the critical and commercial importance of Starfield, the decision to remove the discount just days before its release could be seen as a strategic move to maximize profits. But it also raises questions about accessibility and how the company plans to manage consumer expectations going forward.
Regardless, for those interested in playing Starfield or other new Microsoft titles, the days of the £1/$1 trial seem to be over, at least for now.