Game Pass Causes Decline in Xbox Sales, Say Developers

Developers claim Microsoft’s Game Pass service has led to fewer game sales on Xbox consoles. A report from Skill Up reveals that developers are concerned about the service’s impact.

Developers Voice Concerns

Many developers, ranging from solo creators to mid-sized teams, blame Game Pass for low sales. They say the subscription model discourages players from buying new titles. One developer likened it to “It’s a bit like trying to sell a DVD to someone who uses Netflix.”

Porting to Xbox Less Beneficial

Developers also point out that porting games to Xbox isn’t as beneficial as other platforms. They prefer launching games on the Switch or Steam Deck. An anonymous developer noted their game sold the least on Xbox after being ported two years post-launch.

The consensus among developers is clear: Game Pass creates a cycle where players rely on the service for games, leading to fewer direct sales. Indie developers, in particular, struggle with this model. They find it financially unsound to port to Xbox, given the multiple hardware configurations and the low sales return.

With major titles like Call of Duty expected to join Game Pass, Microsoft may continue this trend. New tiers for the service might make it even more attractive to budget users. However, this could further erode traditional game sales.

Developers believe the best approach might be launching games on Xbox and PlayStation after initial releases, striking deals for subscription services. This strategy has become necessary to reach the majority of the player base.

Solomon Thompson

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