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Xbox Game Pass Core launching this week with 36 games, but not Starfield

Published Sep 13th, 2023 4:42PM EDT
Xbox Game Pass Core is replacing Xbox Live Gold.
Image: Xbox

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In July, Microsoft announced that the Xbox Live Gold subscription service would be succeeded by a new plan called Xbox Game Pass Core. Despite the name change, the new plan still costs $9.99 a month, but there are a few key differences. Most notably, Microsoft is retiring the Games with Gold program and giving Core subscribers a curated selection of titles from the Xbox Game Pass library. On Wednesday, Microsoft revealed the full list of 36 games that Xbox Game Pass Core members will have access to when it launches on September 14.

Free games on Xbox Game Pass Core

Initially, Microsoft said the Xbox Game Pass Core library would feature over 25 Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One games, but the launch lineup contains 36 games:

  • Among Us
  • Astroneer
  • Celeste
  • Dead Cells
  • Descenders
  • Dishonored 2
  • DOOM Eternal Standard Edition
  • Fable Anniversary
  • Fallout 4
  • Fallout 76
  • Firewatch
  • Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition
  • Gang Beasts
  • Gears 5 Game of the Year Edition
  • Golf with your Friends
  • Grounded
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Human Fall Flat
  • Ori & the Will of the Wisps
  • Overcooked! 2
  • Payday 2: Crimewave Edition
  • Powerwash Simulator
  • Psychonauts 2
  • Slay the Spire
  • Spiritfarer: Farewell Edition
  • Stardew Valley
  • State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
  • Superliminal
  • The Elder Scrolls Online
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
  • Unpacking
  • Vampire Survivors

An impressive selection, but there is one glaring omission: Starfield. Considering the Bethesda Game Studios RPG is arguably the most important console exclusive that Xbox has seen in the last decade, it is not all that surprising that the company would lock it behind higher Game Pass tiers. Nevertheless, this is sure to disappoint Xbox Live Gold members, who will automatically transition over to Game Pass Core on Thursday.

The good news is that Microsoft plans to update the Game Pass Core library two to three times a year. Once the excitement surrounding the launch of Starfield begins to fade, maybe Microsoft will consider including the open-universe space RPG in the Game Pass Core library. But in the meantime, you either need to upgrade your plan or pay full price to play Starfield.

Beyond the curated game library, Xbox Game Pass Core also features the ability to play games online, deals and discounts on games and DLC, and access to Free Play Days for select games. If you want to learn more about Game Pass Core, check the website.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.