“Being on Xbox Game Pass means that you basically have constant featuring on Xbox,” says Descenders creator Mike Rose.
Microsoft are pushing hard on the Xbox Game Pass front, with the service becoming central to their strategy going forward – especially where their ever-growing portfolio of first party studios is concerned. And while there have been a few outlying voices that have questioned the validity of its business model for other developers and publishers, there has been evidence time and again that has suggested that being on Game Pass actually boosts games’ actual sales, while the visibility it gives to smaller indie devs is also a huge bonus.
One such indie dev who has benefited greatly from their game being on Game Pass is Mike Rose of No More Robots, whose title Descenders seems to have seen a huge boost in sales because of the visibility being in the Game Pass catalog has given it.
“Since Descenders came out on Game Pass, the thing I did not realise would happen — because you’d assume that you put something on Game Pass and sales tank, right?” Rose said while speaking with GamesIndustry. “I had assumed that: why would anyone buy the game when they can literally see it on Game Pass?
“We were like, should we do this Game Pass thing? But we did it, and 1.0 came out, and I think it the launch was about three times as big as the Steam Early Access launch… You could say it was putting the multiplayer in, or it was not being Early Access any more, so more people bought it. But the biggest surprise for me was Game Pass.”
The extent to which Descender’s actual sales on Xbox One have been helped by being on Game Pass is, in fact, quite impressive. According to to Rose, Xbox sales for the game have quadrupled thanks to being in the service’s ever-growing catalog.
“Being on Game Pass means that you basically have constant featuring on Xbox,” he said. “Your game is on the dashboard all the time… People are seeing our game every day. And because of that, during launch month, our Xbox sales — we didn’t do any discounts on it or anything — quadrupled, and have now settled to about three times as much as before. It’s essentially an advert; a straight up advert.”
Microsoft’s insistence that the plain and simple visibility of being on Game Pass would boost actual game sales was something that drew a healthy amount of skepticism in the service’s earlier days, but as time has gone on, it seems like we’ve seen quite a lot of evidence that it’s actually true. Indie devs especially have benefited from it greatly, and third party publishers have also bee hopping onboard more willingly. If Microsoft can keep Game Pass moving in the direction that it has been moving since it went live, I wager it’ll be a massive winner for them in the coming years.