There’s no denying the incredible value that Game Pass presents to users, while developers have also spoken about the benefits that the subscription service’s added visibility and access to a larger player base bring. That said, whether or not being available on Game Pass affects a game’s sales is something that has often been questioned, and many – Microsoft included – have insisted that the only affect it has is a positive one.
However, it seems that might not be the case. The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently published its findings of the investigation of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, provisionally concluding that the deal could potentially “harm gamers”. As part of its findings, the regulatory body also revealed that Microsoft admits to Game Pass adversely affecting game sales.
“Microsoft also submitted that its internal analysis shows a [redacted]% decline in base game sales twelve months following their addition on Game Pass,” the CMA’s report reads (via GamesIndustry).
Interestingly, the CMA also notes in its report that as per Microsoft, Activision was reluctant to put its games on Game Pass, believing that would “severely cannibalize B2P [buy-to-play] sales, particularly in the case of newer releases.”
There have, of course, been several instances in the past where being on Game Pass has boosted games’ sales and helped increase visibility, so Microsoft’s admission comes as a surprising development. Microsoft has insisted in the pass that Game Pass is a sustainable model, but the company hasn’t spoken in great detail about whether games’ sales slowing down due to the subscription service is a factor it intends to factor into its future plans.