Xbox Game Pass is supposed to enable Xbox owners to play more games, not less. Unfortunately, over the last few days, some Xbox One owners have reported being unable to play certain games they own due to an error with Game Pass, a problem Microsoft has confirmed it's looking into.
Photo: Marco Verch (Flickr)
Xbox Game Pass is a monthly program that lets subscribers install and play various games from the console's library. It's like PlayStation Plus, except the games don't switch out each month. For $10.95 per month you could play Gears of War 4, Resident Evil 6 and 166 other games. However, three players have shared stories about being unable to start games they actually own outright if those games happen to also be included in Game Pass while they aren't subscribed.
A user who goes by nerdaftermathfx posted their experience on Reddit of being unable to play Rise of the Tomb Raider despite having a physical disc. "I keep getting a message telling me to renew my game pass," they wrote. "Funny thing is I dont have game pass. Never have." They said they tried resetting the console and uninstalling and reinstalling the game, but still got the same error message. Trying to disconnect the console from the internet and play offline didn't work either, according to them, as the Xbox One kept telling them it needed to connect to Xbox Live in order for them to proceed. They emailed Kotaku a photo of the error they keep getting.
Another user, RodCCL, reported the same issue with Halo 5. They did have Game Pass at one time, but let it expire a few weeks ago. Despite having a physical disc, they too kept getting the "Please renew your Game Pass" message every time they tried to play the game. Resetting, reinstalling, and trying to play offline didn't work for them either. "If I try to install the game while being offline, I get the error '0x8b050066,'" RodCCL wrote.
Other players reported anecdotally having similar issues throughout the thread, including one person trying to play Mad Max, another game currently in the Game Pass library.
Microsoft says a fix is coming. "We're committed to ensuring customers have access to games they have acquired," an Xbox rep told Kotaku in an email. "We're aware of the claims and working to validate and resolve."
So far Microsoft hasn't elaborated on what's causing the issue, exactly how widespread it is, or whether there are any existing workarounds. In one of the Reddit threads on the topic, Major Nelson, director of programming for Xbox Live, said the right teams inside Microsoft were investigating the problem, but couldn't share any more information at this time.
In January, Microsoft announced that Game Pass would feature some first-party games on release day, including Sea of Thieves, which releases next week on March 20.