Microsoft Defends Game Pass After Admitting It Lowers Game Sales

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Image: Microsoft highlighted a line from the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s provisional report on Microsoft’s planned takeover of Activision Blizzard yesterday that has been read by many as an admission by the Windows maker that Game Pass cannibalizes sales, resulting in lower sales for titles released on the subscription service. Now, just a day later, Microsoft has responded to the news, suggesting in a statement that Game Pass still makes plenty of sense for developers to look at, explaining how the service remains a viable option for monetizing games and how there’s a process in place to assure that participants can maximize their financial value. Microsoft did not dispute its claim that Game Pass has a negative effect on the sales of a game, however.

From a Eurogamer report:

“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 in 2018. “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.”

Spencer does not appear to be talking about in-game sales here, or overall revenue from a title – which could certainly be boosted by its inclusion in Game Pass and its exposure to a wider audience.

Eurogamer contacted Microsoft for an explanation of its admission, and asked if circumstances had changed.

“Xbox Game Pass offers gamers and game creators more choice and opportunity in how they discover, experience, and deliver games,” an Xbox spokesperson told Eurogamer in response today. “For gamers, that means providing another option for them to discover games and play with friends at a great value. For developers, that means creating another option for how they monetise their games.

“We’re focused on helping game creators of all sizes maximise the total financial value they receive through Game Pass. Each game is unique, so we work closely with creators to build a custom program to reflect what they need, ensure they are compensated financially for their participation in the service, and allow room for creativity and innovation. As a result, the number of developers interested in working with Game Pass continues to grow.

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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