Xbox Game Pass is probably the biggest ace up Microsoft’s sleeve this generation, with the service offering subscribers access to hundreds of games at a reasonable monthly subscription price. Microsoft originally didn’t envision Game Pass like this though, as has been revealed by the company’s head of gaming ecosystems Sarah Bond in an interview with GQ Magazine.
Originally starting life under the codename project Arches, Xbox Game Pass was envisioned as a rental service for video games. However, as the team noticed the shift in the sales lifespan of games in the current market, and decided to change plans accordingly.
“Something like 75 per cent of a game’s revenue used to be made in the first two months of release,” explained Bond. “Nowadays it’s spread over two years.”
She also revealed that many publishers were originally dismissive of the idea as it would supposedly “devalue games”, however they would change stance once the service started picking up steam. “They were like, ‘no way, [Game Pass] is going to devalue games,” she said.
Of course, to no one’s surprise, Xbox Game Pass has been a driving factor for Microsoft’s great success this generation. Even in the absence of any true next-gen first party exclusives, Xbox Series X/S’ sales have been solid. Microsoft knows this, and as such has put up (presumably) exorbitant amounts of money for putting high-profile games on the platforms. While there are some concerns as to whether the model is sustainable or not, Microsoft seems to definitely be making the right moves.