Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service came out back in 2017, but since then despite fears that it would lead to lower game sales, analysts say that that hasn’t come to pass. The NPD Group, a marketing research firm, says that the Xbox Game Pass effect on game sales is only positive.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t have any effect at all, however. If anything, Game Pass is apparently actually increasing sales numbers, due to the networking effect that comes with it, so overall this is a net gain for both Microsoft and any developers that launch games on the service.
Xbox Game Pass is essentially a streaming service, where players can pay a low monthly subscription fee for access to a huge number of games to play. This basically means that players can be more cavalier in trying out games they’re not sure of, without worrying about wasting money on a game they end up not liking.
And if they do like it, there’s a higher chance that they’ll buy it themselves to get the full experience, or have the game to play later. That seems to happen more often than not, if what NPD says about the Xbox Game Pass effect is true. It’s also been shown to help in other areas as well.
For instance, Sea of Thieves, an open-world pirate game by Rare Studios, exploded in popularity once it became available on Game Pass, to the point where a PC port came out soon after and quickly became just as popular. Sea of Thieves is now one of the biggest games on Xbox consoles.
The Xbox Game Pass effect will likely continue onward for as long as Microsoft chooses to support the service, and hopefully it will continue to cause games to be more successful with it than they would without it.