Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass is growing rapidly, with the company announcing that the game subscription service now has 15 million subscribers. That’s up from the 10 million subscriber milestone they passed back in April.
The news was tucked away in yesterday’s breaking news that Microsoft are buying Bethesda and all its studios and game properties for $7.5 billion. This will naturally see all of Bethesda’s games now added to Xbox Game Pass, and future titles added to Game Pass on the day of their release, as with Microsoft’s other first party titles.
That’s yet another feather in Microsoft’s cap, after announcing that EA Play would be rolled in Game Pass later this year, around the launch of the next-generation of console, and the introduction of game streaming to Android devices at no extra cost.
However, even with millions of subscribers, Microsoft have admitted that Game Pass is not a particularly profitable venture at the moment. Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg said back in July that it’s “not a big profit play” in the short term, but that they’re hoping to foster customer loyalty and spread through word of mouth.
The service clearly targets the same kind of instant appeal that video streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime have, offering over 150 games across several generations of game console. However, Microsoft have been aggressively pushing the service, offering a first month trial for $1/£1, and letting these trials convert existing Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass subscriptions up to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Frugal gamers could have come out well ahead in this equation.
Xbox Game Pass is available across Xbox One, PC and Android, and will also play a major role in the next generation with Xbox Series X | S. The Xbox Series S is a lower-powered and cheaper console priced at £249/$299, but it comes without a disc drive, meaning that much of the appeal comes from it granting access to Xbox Game Pass library. Even with the Series X, the price of Xbox Game Pass is becoming more and more appealing as Sony, Activision, 2K Games and others look to increase the standard price of their games from $60 to $70.
Still, given Sony’s ability to continually break their own records for exclusive game sales and new IPs, it’s pretty clear why Jim Ryan thinks Game Pass doesn’t make sense for them.