Microsoft added FIFA 21 to its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription on Thursday, giving the video game streaming service yet another major streaming title. Its arrival, however, marks more than just the addition of another big game. For sports fans, it's the last holdout of this season's crop of virtual titles.
For $15 per month, Xbox gamers are able to access nearly every major sports title from the last year, including Madden 21, NHL 21, NBA 2K21, MLB The Show 21, PES 2021 and now FIFA 21 (the latter will also be available on the company's $10 per month Xbox Game Pass for PC). It's an impressive collection of titles that adds value on top of other Game Pass options such as Halo, Grand Theft Auto V and Minecraft.
FIFA 21, which is part of EA Play, which Microsoft bundled into its Game Pass Ultimate service last year, will follow the lead of titles like Madden 21 and MLB The Show 21 with versions available for the Xbox One as well as next-gen optimized editions for those with an Xbox Series X or Series S.
The inclusion of a next-gen version of FIFA 21 is a nice win for owners of Microsoft's latest consoles, something not all publishers have done. 2K's NBA 2K21, for example, has made the Xbox One version of its basketball game available as part of Game Pass but not the next-gen upgrade. Instead, those looking for that edition will still need to buy their own copy (currently $40 at a host of retailers after being $70 at launch).
And while the addition of more major titles is always welcome, to be truly perfect Microsoft still has work to do in adding games closer to their release dates. The company was surprisingly able to get Sony's MLB The Show on its service in time for its launch in April, but FIFA's arrival comes seven months after the title was first made available last October.
It makes sense that publishers will want to keep titles available for purchase at launch to get money from diehard fans, using services like Game Pass as a way to boost the tail end of a life cycle and hold interest until the next iteration. The good news for sports gamers who aren't in a rush to play the latest season, however, is that Game Pass is increasingly becoming a better option for getting all the action.