Hundreds of thousands of Microsoft employees are going to lose the free Game Pass they had as a company benefit. Right now, tensions are running high in Satya Nadella’s offices.
Microsoft is discontinuing the free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate benefit for most of its 238,000 employees, and some are not happy about it.
Sources close to The Verge explained that the company began informing employees this week that, as of January 2024, the free benefit of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for Microsoft employees will no longer be available.
Goal number one: monetize Game Pass
Most likely, Xbox employees will continue to retain the 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 subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at a discount in the company’s internal store.
Some Microsoft employees have turned to the company’s internal messaging platform to voice their objections to the removal of the advantage. The messages from the employees have even led Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, to respond, stating that he was not aware of the changes and is investigating the situation.
The removal of the employee benefit at Microsoft comes months after Xbox Game Pass experienced a price increase for the first time. Microsoft raised the price of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate from $14.99 per month to $16.99, along with the price hikes for the Xbox Series X console.
In exchange, Microsoft also introduced Xbox Game Pass Core in September to replace Xbox Live Gold, offering a smaller catalog.
Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, warned over a year ago that the growth of Xbox Game Pass on consoles had slowed down, and Microsoft chose to focus more on PC Game Pass throughout 2023. Microsoft has not provided updated subscriber
Microsoft said that Xbox Game Pass had grown to 25 million subscribers in January 2022, but we haven’t had any updates since then, even though Starfield, Forza Motorsport, and many other games have contributed to Game Pass throughout 2023.