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Microsoft: “Game Subscription Will Not be the Future of Gaming”

By Muhammad Bilal Syahrir

But will it flourish in the future? Microsoft says no.


Some say that game subscription will be the future. Gamers can subscribe and play a ton of games whichever they choose. But that is not what Microsoft has in mind.

If Netflix is a subscription-based platform for movies, will we see a Netflix for games? Game subscription has been introduced lately by various companies, say, Sony with PlayStation Now, Microsoft with Game Pass, Nintendo, and also EA has introduced them.

But will it flourish in the future? Microsoft says no. Gameindustry.biz got a chance to interview with the company’s head of gaming services Ben Decker and Game Pass head of planning Matt Percy.

Decker shared that based on Microsoft’s experience in releasing Game Pass, they can learn that it is not what the gamers actually want.

“When we launched it, we thought an ever-increasing number of titles might be something that was really important to gamers,” he admitted. “But as it turns out, that’s not really what they’re asking for. What we get from our customers isn’t, ‘I want a subscription that has thousands and thousands of games.’ What we heard from them is, ‘I want a subscription with 100, or a little more than 100, games. But I want them to be really good games. And I want a curated portfolio where I know what’s in there is going to be really great to play.’

As of now, Game Pass allows players to play a total of mixed 100 games per month in the Game Pass library for just US$9.99. Decker also claims that because Xbox has this feature, more and more players are trying their newest games.

“Sea of Thieves has seen over 5 million players, and we attribute a lot of that success to the fact that the game is in Game Pass,” Decker said. “State of Decay has seen over 3 million players. I don’t think those titles reach that level of adoption in the community without their inclusion in Game Pass.”

Microsoft has also been researching on the data they got regarding Game Pass subscriptions’ behavior. On average, Game Pass members have increased their time spent gaming on Xbox by about 20%.

Xbox Head: Next Xbox Console is Under Development

Companies all showcased their newest games during E3. In particular, the Microsoft team announced that the next Xbox console is under development.

That’s not all, Percy mentioned that a “significant portion” of that time is spent playing non-Game Pass games. The number of games they played increased by 40%. This also affects the total number of purchases outside the Game Pass service up to 40%.

So, whether or not game subscription will be popular in the future, one thing we know is that it helps game companies a lot, well at least it does for Microsoft.

Edited by Devi

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