Microsoft has shared some interesting stats about Xbox Game Pass subscribers and why Sony might be thinking of making their own equivalent.
Ever since the failure of the Xbox One, Microsoft has refused to release sales numbers for their consoles – which makes it impossible to tell exactly how well they’re doing. That’s understandable given they’re widely assumed to be selling much less, globally, than the PlayStation 5, but it’s more of a mystery why they won’t announced Game Pass subscriber numbers.
They do occasionally, but not often enough to keep a running total and yet as far as anyone can tell Game Pass has been a big success for them, and is now essentially the Xbox’s killer app.
Microsoft doesn’t seem to be about to break their silence, but they have revealed some interesting stats at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), which give an interest insight into how people use the service.
Game Pass gives access to over 100 downloadable games, including every Microsoft published game from day one and a slowly changing array of third party titles.
As a consequence, people that sign up to the service end up playing 40% more games after joining, and in 30% more genres than they would if they were buying the games at full price.
Adding new games sees at least a 3.5 times increase in player numbers compared to similar titles not on Game Pass, rising to 8.3 times for a popular older game and a massive 15 times for an indie title.
Adding a new game also leads to it being talked about 3 times more, on average, than a game that isn’t on Game Pass, with Game Pass subscribers being 4 times more likely to stream it on Twitch.
The most important measurements, from Microsoft’s point of view, are that Game Pass members spend 50% more on games than non-subscribers and 2.8 times more on microtransactions and DLC.
That final point is key because mainstream games like FIFA and Call Of Duty long ago got to the point where publishers make more money off of microtransactions than they do the game itself.
For the last several years it’s been the goal for most publishers to reach that same point and if Game Pass is seen to help with that it not only guarantees its future success but means that, despite the money being lost on initial sales, it could end up being the most profitable way to sell games.
Sony will likely already be aware of all of this and has been rumoured for months to be working on its own equivalent to Game Pass, although talk of them announcing it in March are now seeming increasingly unlikely.
The only knock to Game Pass recently has been the revelation that subscriber numbers at the end of last year did not rise by the amount Microsoft predicted, causing Xbox boss Phil Spencer to miss out on a company bonus.
That certainly hasn’t put Microsoft off focusing on Game Pass though and the service is only likely to become more important as their cloud gaming service is pushed more to the fore.
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