Games Pass isn’t cannibalizing traditional sales, as Sea of Thieves is proving

Despite what might have been expected, Micrsoft's Games Pass isn't stealing away business from traditional games sales. Or at least Sea of Thieves is proving to be a strange first anomaly.

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Slurms201d ago

Yes it is. "To what extent?" is an open question.

Eonjay201d ago

We would have to have numbers to speak objectively. Selling faster than Quantum Break to become the new fastest selling new Microsoft first party IP isn't really anything to write home about because we know Quantum Break didn't sell that well. Either way, if they want it to be any kind of long term success, they need to listen to the criticism.

indysurfn201d ago (Edited 201d ago )

Just as I was thinking you know what xboxGamepass has something going here. It has a chance to take advantage of Sonys weakness which is PSNOW. So I go to look at the games on the list.

Guess what? is already giving me a bad view of it. I go to see what games are on gamepass. So I click browse all gamepass games. Guess what pops up? I have to sign up (JOIN) for a monthly fee or 14 day trails that requires my wallet, or a debit card. The catch here is 33% will not cancel early enough to avoid a charge. I hate business practices like this and even more so that I have to signup to see what your selling!?

Should have known Microsoft will pull something like this! PSNOW does not require me to join just to see what I'm going to get after I join.

gamingunited201d ago

Quantum Break isn't a first party Studio it's made by Remedy, their next game Project 7 will be on PS4.

Italiano1234567201d ago

exactly Quantum break couldn't even sell 200,000 copies in 2 months

DaDrunkenJester201d ago


There are plenty of ways to see a list online, but I agree they shouldn't lock someone out on the Xbox itself

EmperorDalek201d ago (Edited 201d ago )

@Indysurfn - What are you talking about? The store absolutely does let you see what game pass includes before signing up... Just go in to Store > Browse Xbox Game Pass. Simple. It doesn't force you to do anything.

Anyone agreeing with your comment is a PS4 cultist, as anyone who actually has an Xbox One can easily have a look for themselves.

Xenophon_York201d ago


Regardless rather you can or cannot see the games offered on Gamespass through the XBOX the fact that it's even discussed as being ambiguous is a problem.

Netflix does the same thing—or at least used to.

TheCommentator201d ago (Edited 201d ago )


Even if what you say about not being able to look at the games was true, it took me no time at all to look it up on the internet (from my Xbox One) by searching, "what games are on game pass"...


@ Xenophon_York

"...the fact that it's even discussed as being ambiguous is a problem."

Yeah, because "Browse Game Pass" is so ambiguous. It is a problem though; a problem with the people who talk nothing but trash about Xbox and spread FUD.

TheCommentator201d ago

@ Gaming United

MS owns the Quantum Break IP, so it's a first party game. MS also published Tomb Raider, which is 3rd party because MS didn't own the IP.

200d ago
TheCommentator200d ago (Edited 200d ago )

@ MakoD

It is generally accepted that if the publisher owns the IP it is still first party, but you are correct it could still be considered a 2nd party game by some. Here's a quote from your link:

"Second-party developer is a colloquial term often used by gaming enthusiasts and media... In reality, the resulting game is first party (since it is funded by the platform holder, who usually owns the resulting IP), but the term helps to distinguish independent studios from those directly owned by the platform holder.
Activision in 1979 became the first third-party video game developer, where the term "second-party" originally referred to the consumers."

I think you're confusing first party developers with first party games.

343_Guilty_Spark200d ago


The Gamepass list is readily available

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lxeasy201d ago

As of now I think the article is right. However in a years time I think Gamepass will cannibalizing traditional game sales. More gamers will have the service.

RpgSama201d ago (Edited 201d ago )

Yeah, I mean, becoming the fastest selling FIRST PARTY NEW IP of this XBOX Generation isn't saying much besides the quantity of hoops they had to do to spin this into a success story, there's not a lot of games that qualify for this specific set of filters together and almost all of them were commercial failures.

201d ago Replies(1)
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Fragnum201d ago (Edited 201d ago )

Good article, Its honest and to the point.

The article gives credit to Rare for the games success since launch, but is quick to point out the ambiguity surrounding Microsofts claims of the game being the fastest selling new IP of the generation, In my opinion that is fair and honest.

I think that right now everyone can see that SoT is not the second coming for videogames, and the game does have it's fair share of issues not least is the lack of content in the game. The author doesn't brush this under the carpet and acknowledges the problems whilst having the moral courage to point out the positive that the game has sold well in it's first week and Game Pass subscriptions don't seem to be cannibalising retail sales .... At the moment.

I'd be interested to read more from Alessandro Barbosa and his Pirate surname.

P_Bomb201d ago (Edited 201d ago )

Interesting, but we don’t really know that Game Pass isn’t cannibalizing it. Only sales numbers I’ve seen so far were UK week one (27k). The 2 million players includes game pass and PC.

All I can gather from the “new IP” tag is that they consider it a better debut than the likes of Quantum Break, ReCore, Super Lucky’s Tale etc which isn’t that surprising. Cuphead on the other hand is more surprising as it was critically acclaimed and sold 2 million quick fast . Still don’t know what % of that was on the XB side though. Less than SoT it would appear.

So that raises the question. Could SoT have sold even *more* without game pass? The demand was there, but so was that cheaper alternative.

201d ago
gamingunited201d ago (Edited 201d ago )

None of those games is as Microsoft put it a "first-party new IP". Microsoft has pulled the wool over people eye's by declaring their only new first party IP this generation as the fastest selling. 1 copy would have been the fastest selling. Microsoft's deception has created an absolutely false narrative.

Quantum Break - Remedy, Sunset Overdrive - Insomniac Games, Ryse - Crytek, Cuphead - Studio MDHR, Recore - Armature Studio and Comcept, Super Lucky's Tale - Playful Corp

All those games are not first party.

Microsoft's 1'st party studios are:
343 Industries
Turn 10 Studios
Lift London
The Coalition

P_Bomb201d ago (Edited 201d ago )

Looked into it on twitter for further clarification on what Greenberg means. Found a tweet where he says all Microsoft Studios titles they consider first party. Scroll down

Wiki counts games like Quantum Break, Ryse, ReCore, Super Lucky’s Take, Sunset Overdrive in that bracket. Cuphead isn’t listed though. So I don’t know, there’s a disconnect in the message. I know they’re not first party the way we know them, but Aaron and wiki are playing with semantics

Slurms201d ago

They said all games published by Microsoft Studios, so yes it includes all of those.

KillBill201d ago

"First-party new IP" obviously is pointing at the IP itself being owned by Microsoft. It does not include new IPs that are owned by a second party that are simply exclusive on Xbox at the time.

P_Bomb201d ago (Edited 201d ago )

It’s Greenberg’s quote so it means whatever he wants it to mean. As pointed out in the Twitter link, he means everything published by Microsoft Studios.

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rainslacker200d ago (Edited 200d ago )

How can the article be good when there isn't a single sales number to base it off of? The entire premise of the article is based off of speculation and assumption based off of MS one factual announcement of how many players played it and it's somewhat ambiguous mention of it's 1st weeks sales, which in itself doesn't even have a single baseline to work off of as MS used a non-traditional version of 1st party, and there is nothing out there to compare it to their other games using the same metric.

Even if you disregard MS liberal use of the term "1st party", how many sales numbers have they announced for their new IP's this gen? Every other mention I've heard has always been about how great it's doing without any numbers to back it up.

Game Pass maybe didn't cannibalize traditional sales, maybe it did. About the only thing that can be said for sure is that more people played it because of Game Pass, because there was a free trial, and others will see value in the Game Pass model. But many people, even ardent xbox fans, said how they were just going to play it through Game Pass instead of purchasing it day one.

MS has done one thing really well this gen. It's change the meaning of things to suit their needs.

Fragnum200d ago (Edited 200d ago )


****"How can the article be good when there isn't a single sales number to base it off of?"****

The article was good because I enjoyed reading it and I thought the author made some valid points. Thats my opinion so that's what I wrote. I stated why in my initial post so if you require any further clarification, Please read it again.

If you disagree with what I wrote then use the disagree button to express this, thats what it's for.

****"The entire premise of the article is based off of speculation and assumption based off of MS one factual announcement of how many players played" ****

So are you saying the article is based off speculation and assumption or a factual announcement because your sentence is contradictory?

****"Even if you disregard MS liberal use of the term "1st party", how many sales numbers have they announced for their new IP's this gen?****

Microsofts definition of 1st Party is not something I worry over, nor are sales numbers of a companies IP's.

I'm not sure how many sales numbers for IP's Microsoft have announced this generation because sales figures are not something I base my enjoyment of games on, If I enjoy a game I play it, If I don't enjoy a game then I don't play it.

****"Game Pass maybe didn't cannibalize traditional sales, maybe it did. About the only thing that can be said for sure is that more people played it because of Game Pass"****

I'm sure you are correct, makes sense more people are playing the game because of Game pass, I'm sure this was Microsofts plan, from what you've said it seems like a sound business strategy that is working as intended.

****"MS has done one thing really well this gen. It's change the meaning of things to suit their needs."****

Microsoft are a business, Business's exist primarily to make money. If I was a business I would paint my product in as positive a light as possible, it's basic business sense.

The question is why are you so worried about Microsofts business strategies? Play the games You want to play, Don't play the games that you don't want to play.

I'm assuming that you own an Xbox to be this concerned about Microsofts business practices. Enjoy your Xbox, Don't worry about sales or the reporting of player numbers. If it doesn't affect you when you're sat in front of your TV with a controller in your hands playing games, don't worry yourself about it.

rainslacker200d ago

What valid points can be made when the premise of the article doesn't have anything but assumption to go on though. The entire premise of the article is just speculation, thus flawed. Enjoying reading it doesn't make it a good article, just makes the writer good with words.

No, I'm saying MS had one factual announcement, well two, but neither can be used to base this article off of because one is about player count, the other is about sales based on a metric which is undefined because there is no baseline to go off of. Furthermore, while I didn't state it in my original post, there is no way of knowing what the game would have sold without Game Pass being a factor, so comparing with and without game pass is impossible. Some guestimates can be made, but that'd take a team of market researchers having much more facts than what we have in the community.

I honestly don't worry about MS definition of anything. But since the way they used it can't be used to base the premise of the article over, it's flawed.

" Business's exist primarily to make money. If I was a business I would paint my product in as positive a light as possible"

I don't disagree with this, but MS has not ethical standards when they address the community. I expect PR spin from every company, but MS has taken it to a whole other level, and they've done it with their entire company, not just Xbox.

"The question is why are you so worried about Microsofts business strategies?"

Maybe because their business strategies are a common discussion around here. I have an X1, and I'd prefer MS not be the way they are, and just focus on product, instead of them just trying to make it appear that they're doing great. MS has issues with the Xbox brand from a consumer level, and this kind of PR doesn't address them, it just distracts from them actually doing the right thing to reassure the customer that they are worth keeping around in the market. Otherwise, I'd rather they step aside, and allow another company that can do better come into the picture, instead of them just trying to leverage the gaming market for their own plans which involve Windows and Live more than it seems to involve the Xbox brand itself.

Automatic79201d ago

Fantastic article. I will point out that if any server, for any game had had an average of over 1000 players per hour, within launch week, flooding in too play than you would see issues. Given how Rare has been transparent and already sent patches within 24 to 48 hours of launch to address concerns is admirable. This is what differentiates Xbox from competitors. There online is number one. Congratulations team Rare and Team Xbox. Love Sea of Thieves.

slate91201d ago

And in the first 24 hours they had 5000 players per minute trying to join.

200d ago
yomfweeee201d ago

Stop calling the article great when it isn't based on any specific sales numbers.

DigitalRaptor200d ago (Edited 200d ago )

Do you know what I've realised over the years?

That Microsoft is the puppet master of making people think what they want them to.

There were no sales numbers released for this game, other than we know it outsold Quantum Break... not exactly a grand achievement or a difficult thing to do either since that game flopped at launch.

gamerpop201d ago

How is this a great article? It's based on nothing more than wild speculation. It assumes the 2 million players are not predominantly Game Pass players that will cancel next month.

timotim201d ago

You are comprehending it wrong. It assumes that Microsoft is telling the truth when they say its the fastest selling new IP of any Microsoft published game this generation at retail. If that is correct, then we know that it has garnered it's fair share of physical copies sold.

I expect that the vast majority of sales for this game is/will be digital because PC players can only buy digital and because of Xbox Play Anywhere.

yomfweeee201d ago (Edited 201d ago )

But that still isn't proof of anything. It could be the fastest selling new IP, but also having it's sales cannibalized.

With that said, the whole cannibalizing sales thing is kind of stupid. You don't think Microsoft knew they would lose sales? Of course they did. They've planned for it.

timotim201d ago

But not enough that prevents SoT from being the fastest selling at retail though according to what we know.

Cannibalizing doesn't mean that no one is playing on Game Pass...the majority is certainly playing it digitally (PC, Xbox Play Anywhere, Game Pass), it's saying that the splits are healthy across the board where all sectors can still get it's fair share of shine...both physical and digital...paid and subscription.

It's good for Microsoft because they get money either way and either way, their game's user base grows.

ziggurcat201d ago

fastest-selling doesn't really mean anything when you're discussing the total number of sales, though. The game has 2 million+ players right now, but how many of those are people who purchased the game (physical and digital) vs. people who simply downloaded via game pass (which doesn't count towards sales)?

If there's an overwhelming majority of people who downloaded the game via game pass, then the argument can be made that it's cannibalizing sales a bit. If the numbers favour actual sales, then the argument can be made that game pass isn't exactly cannibalizing sales.

Lime123200d ago

Sea of Thieves sold 22k First week in UK. Crash over 100k First week, Uncharted 4 190k.

rainslacker200d ago (Edited 200d ago )

I think MS expected more people to play the game with it on Game Pass. That's more important for a GaaS type game in the long run. They probably knew they'd lose some sales on the regular version, but hoped to make it back by sheer numbers on the Game Pass side.

I can't see how the premise of the article is in anyway substantiated, as all anecdotal evidence shows many people saying they cancelled pre-orders just to play it on game pass. Heck, even the most stalwart fan boys on this site were saying it.

Its not a bad strategy on MS part for a game like this. Word of mouth can help drive Game Pass subs, as a lot of people....including you to me at one point IIRC....suggested I sign up for the trial to play it.

As far as it being the fastest selling new IP on xbox. I fail to see how that is in any way relevant to the article itself. How fast it sold, is not the same as how many it sold, and how many it sold is what metric is needed to base an article off of. Since the baseline of what makes it the fastest can't be pinned down, it seems irrelevant for making the premise of the article as well.

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