Could Xbox Game Pass Actually Be Hurting Sales?

The question about Xbox Game Pass and its effect on actual game sales has been around for a while, but a recent interview with Ed Fries (formerly an Xbox exec) has brought the conversation forward once more.

Image © Xbox, Microsoft

On a recent episode of the Xbox Expansion Pass podcast show, Fries made an appearance and spoke about the potential impact that Xbox Game Pass could have on sales of games, causing an overall decrease in sales. Fries, who was the vice president of game publishing at Microsoft during much of the Xbox’s life cycle, did admit that he does enjoy the service from the aspect of a customer but saying what Microsoft is doing with the subscription service makes him feel “nervous” about its potential impact to negatively impact the gaming landscape in general.

Seeing Game Pass as being similar to Spotify, Fries expresses that this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Fries explained that Spotify “destroyed the music business” in that Spotify changed listener habits leading to people not buying music anymore.

The one thing that they’re doing that makes me nervous is Game Pass. Game Pass scares me because there’s a somewhat analogous thing called Spotify that was created for the music business.

Fries is not alone with this sentiment regarding Game Pass and game sales. Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two (Grand Theft Auto series), has questioned whether or not it’s possible for everyone in the chain — developers, publishers, and consumers alike — to come out ahead with a subscription-based service like Game Pass. Zelnick wonders if it makes sense for new releases.

Xbox Game Pass has more than 25 million subscribers as of January 2022, but in recent days there have been signs that users are cutting their subscriptions because of a perceived drought of AAA first-party titles coming to the service. In response to an article from Kotaku speaking about this situation, Xbox took a moment to hit back at the claims.

To hear everything Ed Fries had to say about Xbox Game Pass, Spotify, and more, check out his interview with Xbox Expansion Pass.

Do you agree with Fries about Xbox Game Pass’ impact? How do you feel about Game Pass in general? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Source: Gamespot, Pure Xbox, Kotaku

(Xbox Game Pass feature image © Xbox, Microsoft)

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