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Phil Spencer: Xbox Game Pass boosts game sales

Xbox Game Pass is one of the most well received innovations of the current console generation. It is often described as a sort of “Netflix for video games” for good reason – the service allows subscribers to access a library of well over 100 video games and play to their heart’s content. Or at least until the game they are playing leaves the library. A few months after the service launched Microsoft made a shocking announcement. Their first party games would launch day and date on Xbox Game Pass alongside the regular retail launch. You can still go out and buy a new Micrsoft game if you want to but if you want to check it out first you can simply play it through Game Pass. This announcement immediately raised a big question among gamers – would people actually pay $60 USD or more for a new video game when they can simply pay $10 to play it for a month? Microsoft’s vice president of gaming Phil Spencer was asked about this during the recent X018 event in Mexico City and his response may surprise you.

According to Phil Spencer, launching a new title on Xbox Game Pass actually improves sales:

What I will say is when you put a game like Forza Horizon 4 which I can’t stop playing on Game Pass, you instantly have more players of the game which is actually leading to a lot more sales of the game. Some people don’t believe that but when State of Decay 2 launched, you saw if you looked at the NPD you saw this game selling really well the month it launched in the US: “People said well isn’t everyone just going to subscribe for $10 and go play this thing?” But no, gamers find things to play based on what everyone else is playing. What’s number 1 on Mixer, what’s number 1 on Twitch, what are my friends playing, what are people saying on Discord, etc.

It seems that Xbox Game Pass itself serves as a form of marketing. You may have paid $10 for your subscription but somebody on your friends list may see you playing a new game and check it for themselves. Another subscriber may choose to purchase a game with their 20% discount through Game Pass. Yet another person may stream their gameplay of a new title and viewers buy the game after watching it for a while.

We have seen quite a few video games launch on Xbox Game Pass but these have typically been smaller indie games. As of this writing we have not seen a big budget third party title launch on the service. If Spencer is correct and Game Pass does boost sales then perhaps we will see big titles launch on Xbox Game Pass alongside Microsoft’s first party games.

You can see the interview for yourself below:

Thanks, Era.

Jason Mckendricks
Jason Mckendrickshttp://Ticgamesnetwork.com
Writer. Photographer. I leveraged a business degree to play video games. My opinions are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Inner Circle (but they should). DMs on my Twitter are open.

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