Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Small saving on Game Pass

My subscription to the Xbox Game Pass for PC ran out. I had cancelled it because I was given an opportunity to buy a key to Game Pass Ultimate for cheap directly from Microsoft as part of the friends & family program. That didn't work out, because the key was limited to the US, and didn't work in Europe. So I was wondering whether I could get a European key somewhere for cheaper than the €9.99 I usually pay per month.

A quick search revealed that yes, you can buy Game Pass keys at various key resellers. I didn't go for the cheapest one, but one from a reseller I had good experiences with in the past. Buying keys is a bit complicated, because the cheap price you see at first might then not be valid for your region or country, and might have other fees added to it. But in the end I got a working key for 3 months of Game Pass PC for €25.

But of course Microsoft would prefer me to pay them a subscription directly, and not buy a key. So I was able to benefit from an offer where I got another month free by agreeing to subscribe directly to them at €9.99 per month. Which means that at least for this one time, I paid €25 for 4 months of subscription, which isn't a bad deal.

There are two main reasons why I was okay to sign up for another 4 months to Game Pass. One is The Lamplighters League, which I still enjoy after having played for over 50 hours. A hidden gem, in my opinion. Together with the other games I played this year on Game Pass, that got me well over the 1 hour of fun per dollar paid threshold I use as a rough benchmark to see whether a game price is reasonable. The other main reason is City Skylines II, which I do want to try out, but will wait until it has fixed the performance problems the game has at launch.

Even if I didn't like this year's biggest Game Pass release, Starfield, all that much and only played it for 20 hours, 2023 was a pretty good year for a Game Pass subscription. And in 2024 we will probably see the addition of Activision Blizzard games to the mix. Which is fine for me, as I didn't want to buy Diablo IV anyway, but would try it out if I can get access via Game Pass.

FYI There seem to be some settings in Cities Skylines 2 that are bugged or something as turning them off significantly increases performance on basically all systems. I'll paste the link below. Following this guide I've managed to hit over 30 FPS at 1440p at Medium settings, except of course what the guide says to turn off. So not ideal but definitely a playable experience. I played about 3 hours last night and the game is pretty much what you'd expect from a sequel. The biggest difference to me is the simulation changes mean traffic managing is much less of an issue as cars are smarter with him they drive and don't clog a single lane.
Forgot to mention my system has a 12400F, a 12GB 3060 and 32 GB RAM.
I am currently subscribed to the Sony version of Game pass called PS Plus Pro. This means I can play a selection of Playstation games on my PC even though I don't own a Playstation. I have decent internet and the streaming service works very well delivering 1080p 60Hz in PS4 titles. However it is not as polished as Gamepass and not as good value. I paid €16.99 to try it out for a month. The most annoying thing is that you really need a PS4 controller. Not even PS3 or PS5 ones work. There are hacks apparently to get other controllers to work but PS4 is the only one that works out of the box. I bought a second hand one for €20. Just for added annoyance the controller only works in wired mode. However the service does allow you to play a decent selection of PS3 and PS4 classics (eg Ghosts of Tsushima and Bloodborne) that are not otherwise available on PC (no PS5 games yet). I doubt I will keep it up long term but I am happy enough with the €37 it has cost me so far just to try out some games I otherwise could not have experienced on PC.
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