Game Pass Is Cannibalizing Sales: Microsoft

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Image: Xbox

Game Pass has proven to be a pretty great deal for gamers, enabling subscribers to access a large library of games, including a number of day-one titles, for a relatively low cost, but the service appears to come at a significant cost for some of the companies involved. As part of a new provisional report from the UK Competition and Markets Authority regarding the Windows maker’s proposed $69 billion merger with Activision Blizzard, Microsoft revealed that it expects titles to see a decline in base game sales for at least a year following their inclusion into Game Pass, an admission that the service isn’t without its problems and cannibalizes sales. Xbox head Phil Spencer claimed in 2018 that Game Pass boosts sales, rather than undermine them.

From a report:

“Microsoft also submitted that its internal analysis shows a [redacted]% decline in base game sales twelve months following their addition on Game Pass,” the CMA noted in its report.

That confirmation runs counter to claims Xbox head Phil Spencer made in 2018 that Game Pass boosts sales rather than undermines them.

“When you put a game like Forza Horizon 4 on Game Pass, you instantly have more players of the game, which is actually leading to more sales of the game,” Spencer said, adding, “You say, ‘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 everybody else is playing.”

Elsewhere in the CMA’s report, it cites Microsoft as saying that Activision took a dim view on putting its titles into multi-game subscription services on any platform, believing that “severely cannibalise B2P [buy-to-play] sales, particularly in the case of newer releases.”

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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