Microsoft gaming VP Phil Spencer claims that putting titles on Xbox Game Pass increases their sales.
Following XO18 this weekend, Spencer told Levelup.com that despite many players accessing games for a drastically lower cost through the service, word-of-mouth from those users encourages non-subscribers to pick up the game outside Game Pass.
We’ve raised concern in the past over player figure benchmarks being released for Game Pass titles like Sea of Thieves or State of Decay - with Game Pass inflating player numbers, it’s always possible that actual, full priced sales figures were being obscured.
But according to Spencer, those subscriber players are providing a valuable tool for increasing sales.
"When you put a game like Forza Horizon 4 on Game Pass, you instantly have more players of the game, which is actually leading to more sales of the game," said Spencer. "
Some people have questioned that, but when State of Decay 2 launched if you looked in the US at the NPD you saw this game selling really well the month it launched on GamePass.”
“You say, 'Well isn't everyone just going to subscribe for $10 and go play this thing?' But no, gamers find things to play based on what everybody else is playing. What's #1 on Mixer, what's #1 on Twitch, what's my friend's list [saying], what are people saying on Discord, they go everywhere to see. When these games hit something like GamePass with all these players, it instantly raises the awareness."
While this may boost games that are obviously popular, it's hard to argue that more middling titles are experiencing the same sales boost through positive word-of-mouth.