Sea of Thieves costs $60 to buy outright, just like every other full-fledged AAA release on the market. However, Microsoft also has a subscription program called Game Pass that gives players access to an instant library of games for $10 a month, something like a (more) premium version of Games With Gold. The company also recently announced that Game Pass will include all new first-party releases from Microsoft studios at launch, of which Sea of Thieves will be the first. That means that all you need to play Sea of Thieves at launch is a Game Pass subscription and a subscription to Xbox Live Gold, because this is a multiplayer game.
So even if you don’t currently have Game Pass you could sign up for the month, download Sea of Thieves and play it all month long for only $10, saving yourself $50 on the full purchase price and gaining access to a bunch of other games, as well. If you’ve never used Game Pass before, however, there’s an even more interesting offer: a free 14-day trial period. So that means that you could be playing the game totally free if you already have an Xbox Live Gold subscription — even if you don’t, it’s only $9.99 for one month.
Game Pass is technically only available on Xbox One, but since it’s an Xbox Play Anywhere title you can also download it on PC.
This is clearly intentional, and I’m optimistic about how it will work for both Game Pass and Sea of Thieves itself. For one thing, it’s hard to imagine that this won’t drive more players to Sea of Thieves than would have played it otherwise: it’s an odd game, and one that a lot of players might have chosen to wait to check out at full price. For a $10 subscription or 14-day trial period, however, it’s worth poking one’s head into a new experience. And on the flip side, the prospect of a new release is likely to drive a lot of people to Game Pass, and Microsoft is clearly hoping that they like what they see enough to keep paying the subscription price, or at least enough to forget to cancel it.