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Xbox Game Pass: Why Microsoft Calls It a Blessing, Not Threat to Consumers, Developers

On its surface, Xbox Game Pass seems like a sort of Netflix for video games. The Microsoft-run service charges players a monthly fee for unlimited access to a library of titles.

But the results of that service, which has been live now for about a year, show a number of surprising, meaningful changes in the way its users consume games.

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Spurg52d ago

"The result, Microsoft found, was that Game Pass members spent 20% more time playing games than they did before signing up. And not just with Game Pass games, but with other games on the Xbox One as well. The company also saw a 40% increase in how many games a subscriber plays, and again, that wasn’t just for Game Pass titles, but all titles on the system. They also found that franchises with multiple entries would see a significant increase in the purchase of other games if one of the titles hit Game Pass."

“Discoverability is one of the bugbears of our industry,” he said. “Our titles also experience a much higher level of engagement than they otherwise would have.”

"There is a benefit to single-player offline games as well, he added. The more people playing a single-player game, the more there are talking about it and word will spread. He called it “another element of discoverability.”

It's clear that gamepass has been encouraging people to experience more games they've never tried before. It now time for MS to make a push into Japan and really show off gamepass and get them to release games on it to gain more exposure.

sprinterboy52d ago

Dude why did you block me, this is my response b4 I realised I couldn't send you it, cause you blocked me?
"Couldn't agree more buddy, maybe my comment came across wrong. I've actually since left boomerang rentals as I found I was not finishing games or rushing through them to get the nxt big release, I have to say I've got my mojo bk with gaming since leaving , I'm 42 and was feeling game fatigue or something. Since buying more games I take my time more now and actually finish them lol. I joined boomerang rentals cause I've had a hard time lately with open world games when I got burnt spending £40 a didn't like it ie(not saying there bad games) just cause, watch dogs 2(loved the 1st one) witcher 3(i know a great game 😔) plus boomerang rentals was great for sp campaigns like cod and battlefield (not keen on mp) and games like dishonoured I was unsure on as a example.
Never owned a xbox btw but me and my friends on psn were saying def going xbox 2 and ps5 nxt gen with our soon to be purchased 4k tvs 😊and will definitely go for a £7.99 game pass and hopefully finally catch up on Alan wake, quantum break, ori as examples.
Come nxt gen I will have replay ability value of ps4 games hzd, tlou pt2, death stranding, rdr, gts etc in 4k while we wait for those 1st party studios first and second year launch titles to come out plus a nice back catalogue of ms games from gears franchise (finally) fable 2, ori, forza, quantum break etc. Certainly looking fwd to see what ms do with sp games nxt gen and hopefully imo they can create the games like gears, halo etc but with new ips as I think they need 3 or 4 sp games which can be trilogies to tien them over for the gen or 2. Think me not buying a ms console all these yrs will be great timing buying into xbox 2.
Healthy competition I think come nxt gen with ms learning from mistakes this gen. Either way nxt gen will hopefully improve on ai, physics, interaction etc rather than the same old formulas this gen as last (not complaining been a great gen but)
Anyway happy gaming. 😊"

Spurg52d ago

Yeah, I didn't block you, something must be wrong with the PM on N4G. Let me copy what I wrote in the PM.
I use boomerang rentals as well :)
But the difference its digital and doesn't have the hassle of waiting for a game to come to your place and waiting for those updates to download when it does arrive. With boomerang rentals, if you break it down from when you rent a game to when it adds up to a week off your rental of just waiting.

Rent 1 game: Takes 2-3 days to arrive and returning takes 2-3 days and that's granted you have posted it during the weekdays and at the right time of the day. That's a nearly whole week off your monthly sub waiting for a game to come and go, which leaves you only 3 weeks to finish a game. If you have the luxury of time that's fine but if you're busy like me, then expect to spend the whole 3 weeks finishing off assassins creed origins. Its an even longer time period if you rent 2 games a month. Game 1: 2-3 days waiting +2-3 days returning + Game 2: 2-3 days waiting +2-3 days returning: that's 8-12 days of waiting for games, that almost half the month.

And if you break it down further: I pay £10.99 a month for unlimited games with one at a time. It takes me 3 weeks to just about finish a 30-50 hr long game. That's basically £10.99 a month to rent a game that cost £30-45, which is pretty good. There was a time when I was about to rent Dragon Age Inquisition and realized that it would take me a whole month or more to finish the game, so I decided to buy the game for £10.99 instead. The more you rent a month the cheaper it is but as I said above, there is a cost and that more time waiting for games.

Spurg52d ago

Part 2

Don't get me wrong, Boomerang rental is my go-to place for games and so far this year I was able to catch up on all of the releases but the alternative is much cheaper and better.

If you use Gamepass, you pay £7.99 and get the games available at your fingertips and available to you in minutes depending on how your connection is. Ms also mentions that all of their exclusive will be available on Gamepass one day one, if that not incentive enough then I don't know what is.

Gamepass is MS's biggest feature this gen and they are actively investing in the service by adding direct streaming which means games will be available in mere seconds instead of minutes. Recently, in an interview with Cnet, Phil mentions how he wants gaming to be ready and available for people on a portable form and streaming on Gamepass is the way forward for that.

rainslacker50d ago

Outside the play times, the benefits to game discoverability, or helping series get new users, has been one of the biggest draws of things like PS+, GWG, or Humble Bundle. The other draw was that it could help sell DLC for games that were given free but had DLC or MT.

XiNatsuDragnel52d ago

I personally disagree but People whàts your opinion?

darthv7252d ago

I can see how GP can spark interest in games people would otherwise not have given a 2nd look to. I know if I had GP I would be trying out all sorts of games without the thought of losing $$ because they are all inclusive.

I've recently gone back to netflix and while I know there are tons of shows that I find appealing, I have been branching out and trying new ones that are also interesting and appealing as well. It took having an all inclusive service to get me to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. Now i just need to do it with GP.

Games i want to own I will buy but at least this gives me the chance to try before i buy.

Apocalypse Shadow52d ago

Of course it's a blessing. To MS. They are the one who own the subscription. Using MS positive metrics, games see more *engagement*. Doesn't mean a developer will see more profit. The percent rises as you add the service to more markets and gamers try games looking for something fun. That's how they are getting their numbers.

Nowhere in the article though talks about profit for the developer. Discounting a game doesn't make you more money. Being discovered doesn't make you more money. Only way is a fat check or tons and tons of micro transactions and dlc. **GAAS.** As 505 explained in the article. Drip fed content like sea of thieves, state of decay, doa ridiculous amount of costumes, etc.

The article is one big advertisement for GAAS. Games like red dead, or gta or any games made for over 100 million will not ever be on this service. Why share your profits with MS? As gta has shown, even though I don't like the online micro transactions, makes tons of money without MS. Fortnite makes tons of money for Epic without MS's service. Single player games like gow make money without being on PS Now.

There will be commentors who are 'supposedly gamers' and more articles written to push the GAAS model so that you don't physically own your games and get bombarded with micro transactions for unfinished games where everything used to be included in one purchase. They want you to believe in this just like season pass, launch dlc,micro transactions, subscriptions on top of subscriptions, etc.

Don't be fooled.

Chris1252d ago (Edited 52d ago )

It's a model that works in movies. It's a model that works in music. If you don't like it, don't buy it, but for many it's a bargain and a great way to access a lot of games for little money. I don't subscribe to GP but at least I can see the value in it.

Apocalypse Shadow52d ago

It's a Trojan horse just like micro transactions, season pass, launch dlc, loot boxes, etc. And gamers keep falling for it. Then complain later when these things happen.

GAAS is not a great model for gamers. Unfinished games where the rest is sold to you is anti consumer. $10 a month or as low as $2 for 2 months is anti developer. Only one that actually wins in this is MS.

Sorry if I don't get fooled by these schemes by MS,EA, etc. Been around long enough to know better.

Chris1252d ago

I can assure you I've probably been around a lot longer than you and you sound just like the naysayers when services like Spotify and Netflix started. History has shown that if something isn't wanted, consumers will reject it. The launch of the XB1 is a perfect example.

I'm not fooled by anything, I totally understand what is happening. Spotify has not killed the music scene, Netflix has not killed the movie scene and GP will not kill the games scene. You can't live under a rock forever.

arkard52d ago

@Chris Spotify hasn't killed music because artists make their money touring and through merchandise. The only one spotify hurt are record labels.
Movies get theatrical releases and are still sold physically.
Games , have the sale of the game, that's it (plus dlc and GaaS content now) at 10$ a month (depending on Microsoft cut this is lower) how much actually goes to developers and publishers? How do you split that money?Do you get a flat fee per title? Is it based on how long your games are? You see how depending on that data point, developers will either rush out games to get that flat rate and move on to the next. Or pass the game with useless content so they can say their are more hours in the game. 10$ a month is not sustainable for most developers and it sure as will cause the quality of games to go down.

shaggy230352d ago

@Arkard

You think the developers just sign up for their games to be on Gamepass without reading the small print?

I'm pretty sure all the developers know exactly what they are getting themselves in for, if it wasn't profitable they wouldn't do it.

Plus there was an article a few months back showing that the sales of games that are on Gamespass doesn't drop, I think they used State of Decay as an example and it sold pretty well.

Chris1252d ago

@arkard - you have absolutely no idea what model GP is being run on. Do you think developers will put their games on GP if it's a crap deal?

And do you think record labels are hurt by Spotify? Who owns the rights the vast majority of music? It's the record labels, and they wouldn't sign contracts if it wasn't in their interests. One of the benefits of Spotify is you can try out a lot of new artists and music without risking loads of cash. No different with GP so it can be a win-win for devs and consumers.

You have a completely negative view of a system already widely used in consumable media and as always, its an option, nothing more.

bigmalky52d ago

Movies and music are not sold with added content, updates, patches and microtransactions. With Netflix or Spotify, you get access to the full product.

With Gamepass and so on, you get varying levels of quality, unfinished titles and games lacking the DLC that will almost certainly be implemented in a much worse way in an all digital future, where in that kind of environment, will offer you a title screen with a paywall to access the rest of the game in pieces.

You think they won't try this? Look at the history.

Chris1252d ago

@bigmalky - that's exactly whats happening now and has been happening for a long time. GP will not change that or make it worse, that's a problem with gaming in general today. These schemes only work if enough subscribe, screw the customer and the people will just cancel and the thing will collapse. Look at the backlash against games like Battlefront 2, the vast majority of people are not stupid.

rainslacker50d ago (Edited 50d ago )

@Apocalyse

I think services like this are great for rental services of a collection of games. I wouldn't expect first run high profile games on there from any of the services though. It just doesn't make sense for the long term.

I do think that there would be a fundamental shift in how games are designed, released, and monetized under services like these, and that's not really something we're seeing too much of now, but for the long term, I still hold to my belief that big AAA games can't survive on the service without huge subscription numbers. We see it now because MS really wants to promote the service, but I think going forward, we won't see them investing in more AAA games for it. Even their recent studio acquisitions were all mid-tier studios outside Playground, who make a game that is easily monetized, and MS itself said that mid-tier games are really how services like Game Pass will be able to provide new content.

@Shaggy

"Plus there was an article a few months back showing that the sales of games that are on Gamespass doesn't drop, I think they used State of Decay as an example and it sold pretty well."

How could that ever be verified without knowing what it would have sold without it being on game pass? There is absolutely now way for a product that has an unknown base sales amount, and doubly true for a product which will always see a varied sales amount that tends to decrease over time.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 50d ago
jojo31952d ago (Edited 52d ago )

More choice is NEVER anti-consumer. As for the "trojan horse" arguement, if it isn't successfull, it won't last. If it turns out people prefer it, then so be it. If there is a need, somebody will fill it. I personally prefer as many choices as possible. Let ME decide for myself. These same arguments have been told time and time again everytime a new format comes out. Remember how Cassettes were going to detroy the music industry becasue you could record? Then CD-R's were going to do it. Turns out streaming was the big disrupter, but I would argue for the better. Do you like istening to literally millions of songs from your phone? Or would you rather have that Discman? Not to mention it's given rise to platforms like Pledgemusic which offers unique incentives to buy physical. Dev's and publishers will always figure out new revenue streams. To consumers it likely means more special editions that come with cool stuff. All of this forces companies to innovate and WORK to earn your $$. Look what happened when EA went too far with Battlefront 2. So no, I'm not "fooled". I don't want or need anybody making choices for me.

AK9152d ago (Edited 52d ago )

It's not a blessing but it could either be a huge mistake or the way of the future, I personally hope it's the former Downloading games then being unable to play them is annoying

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