Microsoft admits that Xbox Game Pass is reducing game sales

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Documents from the British competition authority reveal that Microsoft has admitted to a drop in game sales linked to its Xbox Game Pass service.

In the video game sector, Microsoft is one of the companies that communicates fewer figures to analyze its results. We do not officially know the number of Xbox consoles sold or the precise number of Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold subscribers.

Therefore, most often it is necessary to relate to the statements of company executives who can present the truth in the best possible light. Except when it comes to legal documents where Microsoft can no longer afford to hide the truth. This is the case with its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, where the firm had to hand over its internal documents to the authorities, particularly in the UK.

The proceedings of the CMA, the UK’s competition authority, have been heavily redacted to prevent making confidential information public, but you can still unravel some juicy information.

microsoft admission

For example, there is the following quote:Microsoft also said that its internal analysis shows a drop in [censur√©] % of game sales twelve months after being added to Game Pass“. In another paragraph of the document, the CMA indicates that internal Microsoft documents point to a drop in game sales ( B2P, buy to play ) when a game is added to your subscription service.

While all of this may seem intuitive, the idea that adding a game to Xbox Game Pass reduces your retail sales is something Microsoft has always denied. As GameIndustry.biz recalls, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, indicated that adding the game to Xbox Game Pass helped increase its sales.

Be warned, both statements could be entirely true, Phil Spencer in his statement probably picked out a few examples of games where word of mouth enabled by the addition of Game Pass helped drive sales. Several independent game developers had also testified to this effect.

Even so, the general conclusion seems to tend rather to a drop in sales. Activision’s documents in this same acquisition project point more to a refusal to placeObligationsand other publisher licenses on the Microsoft service. If the takeover doesn’t happen, it’s hard to imagine the gaming giant offering its best titles on Xbox Game Pass.


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