Xbox Game Pass on Samsung TVs: 5 things you need to know

Samsung Smart TV interface with Xbox app
Samsung Smart TV with Xbox app announcement (Image credit: Samsung)

Last week, Samsung dropped the news that Samsung Gaming Hub will be adding an Xbox app on June 30th. This will allow Xbox Game Pass members to play cloud-based Xbox games on the company’s new TVs, with 100-plus titles available on the platform from the get-go. Suddenly, Samsung TVs are looking better – and certainly more fun – than ever.

First announced back in January at CES, Samsung Gaming Hub is a feature found across much of the company’s 2022 TV lineup. Gaming Hub serves as a one-stop portal within the Tizen-powered smart TV interface to access both cloud gaming services and connected game consoles, with Samsung also counting Nvidia GEForce Now, Google Stadia, and Utomik as partners. 

Both gamers and prospective set buyers alike may be wondering about the details of using Xbox Game Pass on Samsung TVs, so we’re providing answers here to a few basic questions.

Samsung 2022 Smart TV with Xbox app

Samsung 2022 smart TV with Gaming Hub and Xbox app (Image credit: Samsung)

 1.  Which Samsung TVs support Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass can be used on new 2022 models featuring Samsung Game Hub. The list includes the company’s Neo QLED 8K, Neo QLED 4K, QLED (BU8000 series and above) TVs and 2022 Smart Monitor computer monitors. Pre-2022 Samsung TVs do not offer Game Hub and the company has not announced any plans to update them with the feature.

 2. How many Xbox Game Pass games will be available on the Samsung Gaming Hub Xbox app?

Samsung has stated that ‘over 100’ games can be streamed at launch. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members currently have access to 350-plus titles for streaming on other compatible devices, so additional titles are likely to be added to the Samsung Xbox app in the near future. Fortnite is also available to play without an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.

 3. How much does Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cost and what other devices can I use it with?

Game Pass Ultimate costs $15 per month and you get the first 3 months for $1 after first signing up. This deal gives non-gamers plenty of time to try it out on their new Samsung TV and see if it’s something they will use. Other devices supporting Game Pass Ultimate  include Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles, Windows PCs, Android phones and tablets, and iOS devices. 

4. Which game controllers can I use with the Xbox app on Samsung TVs? 

Samsung states that its gaming hub supports ‘all of the most popular game controllers’. Xbox provides more detailed info in its Game Pass Ultimate FAQ, citing support for a wide range of Bluetooth controllers, including, of course, its own Xbox Wireless, Xbox Adaptive, Elite Series 2, and DualSense controllers. Along with Bluetooth game controllers, Bluetooth wireless gaming headsets are also supported by Samsung’s Gaming Hub.

 5. Which Gaming-specific Samsung TV features can be accessed when the Xbox app is active? 

According to Samsung, users can make adjustments in the Samsung Gaming Hub quickpanel when accessing Game Pass Ultimate titles. Options here include switching the image aspect ratio from 16:9 to ultra-wide 21:9 or 32:9, moving the screen up or down using the arrow buttons on the remote control, and opening the Game mode settings menu. The quickpanel further indicates status for input lag, Variable Refresh Rate, and frame rate per second in real time (changes when Variable Refresh Rate is active). It also indicates high dynamic range status, though the games streamed via the Xbox app will be in 1080p resolution/standard dynamic range format.

Opinion: Streaming is the future of TV-based gaming 

Apps for streaming movies and TV have been baked into the onscreen interface of Smart TVs for many years now, and while external streaming boxes from Apple, Roku and others are still available, many viewers have become accustomed to the convenience of browsing and streaming from a single screen using one remote control. There’s no reason why that experience shouldn’t extend to gaming, something that the arrival of Samsung’s Gaming Hub with the Xbox app confirms.

While serious gamers will continue to use PC-based setups to ensure minimal controller latency and take advantage of multiple screens, the low latency provided in the Game mode on higher-end TVs such as the compatible models in Samsung’s 2022 lineup will be sufficient for the majority of gamers. Another benefit is that getting access to a large library of Xbox games via a built-in app rather than having to buy a console will encourage more viewers to experiment with gaming to see if it’s something they’ll enjoy.

Does the Samsung-Xbox announcement portend the end of consoles and disc-based games? Certainly not – same as with the Blu-ray and DVD formats, discs will continue to be sold for many years to come along with dedicated hardware to play them. But the template for eliminating external boxes from the home viewing hub has been forged, and it’s only a matter of time before all forms of entertainment, games included, get fully subsumed into the cloud for instant, easy access by smart TVs. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see PlayStation Plus announced as the next addition to Samsung Gaming Hub in the near future.

Al Griffin
Senior Editor Home Entertainment, US

Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine. 

When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.