We're a few generations ahead of the console that introduced Xbox Live, and ever since then, Microsoft's consoles have become known for their great online multiplayer experience.
While you can play online multiplayer games on any modern gaming console these days, Microsoft still ekes out an advantage for gamers with Xbox Game Pass, which offers a solid number of options.
So many console games, across so many different genres, now have some kind of online multiplayer functionality. We're specifically looking at games where online multiplayer is a significant part of the game's full experience, especially if it's the only way to play it.
Here are our picks for the best online multiplayer games on Xbox Game Pass and why they stand out from the rest.
For Xbox Gamers
Xbox Game Pass unlocks 100+ high-quality games playable on Xbox and PC, plus all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold and EA Play.
If you're looking for an online multiplayer shooter game that leans more toward the lighthearted side, Plants vs. Zombies: The Battle for Neighborville is one of the best options for you.
This sequel to the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare series is great with its offering of six different PvP multiplayer modes, as well as a co-op tower defense mode that hearkens back to the franchise's roots.
If you're a fan of even a single Star Wars movie, you've probably thought about what it would be like to fly an iconic Star Wars spacecraft. Star Wars: Squadrons gives you that chance!
Even though this game has been around for a while, the limited number of game modes combined with the fact that it's available on Xbox Game Pass mean you won't have trouble finding a match.
Super Mega Baseball 3 marries gameplay that's much simpler than typical baseball sims with a cartoony aesthetic, resulting in a baseball game with a great casual online experience.
There are deep levels of customization, so if you really want to dive into it, you and your friends can build out the online multiplayer baseball games of your dreams as well.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge is a throwback arcade beat-em-up game that's simple to play but complex to master.
The gameplay is solid and it's certainly a blast to play alone, but this game was made for a group to enjoy together. Playing with up to six total players at once via online multiplayer adds a level of madness that you just can't get playing on your own.
When Tetris Effect was first released, it was widely appreciated as the best Tetris game to come out in a long time. The only downside was that it was missing online multiplayer.
Fortunately, Tetris Effect: Connected came out and fixed this, allowing for both one-versus-one competitive play as well as three-player co-op play. Unless you're looking for the hectic madness of Nintendo Switch's Tetris 99, this is as good as modern multiplayer Tetris gets.
10. Back 4 Blood
It's no secret that Back 4 Blood is a spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead series, made by developer Turtle Rock Studios.
This game adds an interesting card system that makes it not exactly the same, but if you have fond memories of playing the Left 4 Dead games with a group of friends online, then this is as close as you'll get to that experience on Xbox Game Pass.
9. For Honor
In what has become typical Ubisoft fashion, For Honor evolved into a much better game than it was at first launch. Ubisoft rallied their resources, and the game remains popular to this day.
For Honor: Marching Fire Edition gives you the base game as well as the Marching Fire expansion, offering you plenty of medieval melee combat and endless challenges to fight online.
Recent Elder Scrolls games already feel like offline MMORPGs with their vast size and depth of gameplay, but The Elder Scrolls Online goes the distance in ways no other game in the series can match.
Xbox Game Pass only includes the base game, but even without the expansions you'll be able to enjoy countless hours adventuring across Tamriel with other players. By then, you'll know whether you like the game enough to buy the expansions.
Watch a few rounds of competitive Dragon Ball FighterZ and you'll be blown away by the deep fighting gameplay that's buried beneath the anime exterior. It's a must-play for fighting game fans.
The online multiplayer experience won't be easy if you're new to fighting games, but you can train against the game's AI opponents to get better—and eventually you'll start snagging wins online.
The latest game in the series, Battlefield 2042, isn't available on Xbox Game Pass. Then again, given its reception, that may not be a bad thing.
Fortunately, you do have access to the much-better Battlefield V. Unlike the near-future setting of Battlefield 2042, Battlefield V took the series back to its World War II roots, with solid gameplay to boot.
If you're looking for an online multiplayer shooter with large player counts and huge battlefields, this is the game for you.
Despite its great aesthetics and solid gameplay, Halo Infinite's online multiplayer experience hasn't caught on with players the way 343 Industries wanted it to catch on.
But that doesn't mean it's not fun to play! Feel free to ignore the Battle Pass. All you have to do is hop on and you can start playing. If you have any past experience with Halo games, you'll have a great time.
If you're new to Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, it can be a daunting experience with a steep learning curve. But if you're aware of that before you jump in, and if you're willing to take your time and learn how to play, then you'll have a much better time.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is easily one of the most satisfying online multiplayer experiences available on Xbox Game Pass.
It's an acquired taste in many ways, so don't be surprised if it doesn't click with you right off the bat. But once it does, you might just find that it's your new favorite flavor of gaming.
Unlike the Forza Motorsport games, Forza Horizon 5 is more of a driving game than a racing game. Of course, you can race, but that's far from all you can do. There's just so much to explore here.
When you're finished jumping into online races, you ought to try the Horizon Arcade events, which pit you against other drivers in a competition to complete various tasks.
2. Gears 5
When Gears of War first came out, it felt novel compared to other shooters of the time with its intentional shift from first-person perspective to third-person perspective.
While that perspective is more common in shooter games now, it still feels as great as ever in Gears 5, making it one of the best third-person shooters to play right now—and it's available on Xbox Game Pass.
Throw in the iconic Horde mode and this game's online multiplayer will keep you hooked for a long time.
Whether you love the entire Halo franchise, you're a casual fan, or even if you're a complete newbie who's never played Halo before, there's a good chance you'll enjoy Halo: The Master Chief Collection's online multiplayer (unless you hate shooters as a whole).
Combining the multiplayer experience from multiple games under one umbrella might seem like a strange recipe, but it lets you experience all of the different Halo games from their various eras (aside from the latest, Halo Infinite, of course).