Xbox Game Pass sprouted as a risky idea due to the problematic launch of Xbox One that has now flourished like an all-you-can-eat buffet or also referred to as “Netflix for video games,” providing a changing roster of dishes. Game Pass is regarded as the best gaming subscription, which has grown from 18 million last year to a staggering 25 million subscribers at the advent of 2022.
Giant AAA titles are released on the subscription as first-day releases, and the pricing model is also arguably decent. The service now features well over 100 titles at a time. The number of titles has harmoniously grown alongside the number of subscribers. In 2021, Game Pass added Bethesda games with 20 in total. Titles incorporated the likes of Dishonored, Doom, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Wolfenstein, to name a few.
After finalizing the enormous Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard in early 2022, Spencer has iterated his views to bring Activision Blizzard titles to the service. The statistics show that Microsoft has clearly figured out the formula, but some are still wary of its potential and performance.
Former Xbox Vice President of Game Publishing, Ed Fries, stated his opinions regarding Xbox Game Pass, putting forward a different perspective. Ed appeared in the Xbox Expansion Pass podcast, where he conferred on several topics like the present condition of the Xbox as a brand and leadership, his term with Microsoft and Xbox, Game Pass, what Ed would change, and much more. While talking about Xbox Game Pass and its state, he seemingly mentioned that Xbox Game Pass “scares him” and “makes him nervous.”
“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. When Spotify took off it destroyed the music business, it literally cut the annual revenue of the music business in half. It’s made it so people just don’t buy songs anymore.”
He clarifies the reason for his distaste concerning Game Pass by giving the analogy of Spotify as an example because both services are cut from the same cloth. He iterates that Spotify has destroyed the music industry halving overall revenue because no one buys music anymore when they have a subscription service available for seamless streaming.
“So we have to be careful we don’t create the same system in the game business. These markets are more fragile than people realise. I saw the games industry destroy itself in the early 80s.”
Ed continues by warning Xbox to be careful, so the gaming industry does not walk the same path. Like Cloud gaming services, Xbox Game Pass does take away the traditional feeling of owning games. In the worst-case scenario, subscription services may become so prevalent in gaming that the whole dynamic may shift like in the music industry, as he explained above.
“So Game Pass makes me nervous. As a customer, I love it. I love Spotify as a customer: I have all the songs I’d ever want… it’s a great deal as a customer. But it isn’t necessarily great for the industry.”
Overall, the interview is quite perceptive and gives an alienated perspective of how Game Pass could affect gaming as a whole. What are your thoughts about Ed Fries take? Let us know in the comments below.
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