Microsoft says Xbox Game Pass subscribers up more than doubled in last quarter of 2019

Microsoft says Xbox Game Pass subscribers up more than doubled in last quarter of 2019

Games and tech giant Microsoft says that the number of users signed up to its Xbox Game Pass subscription service has more than doubled in the three months ending December 31st, 2019.

That's according to CEO Satya Nadella (pictured), who told investors – as reported by Seeking Alpha – that the company had reached an all-time high for consumers subscribing to the all-you-can-eat service. It isn't clear if Game Pass users doubled year-on-year or quarter-on-quarter, though we'd wager it's the latter.

Nadella also said that Microsoft had set a new record for Xbox Live monthly active users for the quarter. Microsoft stopped reporting the actual figures for Xbox Live in the previous quarter when it also claimed to have seen an all-time high in terms of active users. Previously, the Big M's online service boasted 65m monthly active users.

The chief exec said that the xCloud streaming service was off to "a very strong start" and has been played by "hundreds of thousands of people" during its current trial phase.

Overall, Microsoft's games business saw a 21 per cent dip year-on-year, bringing in $3.3bn, down from the $4.2bn the Xbox firm made during the three months ending December 31st, 2018. Hardware revenue decreased 42 per cent year-on-year, while 'content and services revenue' – aka game sales, Game Pass and Xbox Live – saw an 11 per cent decline down to "a third-party title" which is almost definitely Fortnite.

The decline in Microsoft's games business isn't anything to be particularly alarmed by as it is just a sign of the current console cycle coming to a close, as indicated by hardware revenue almost halving. The Xbox firm also says that its games business was partly responsible for a 15 per cent increase in its research and development spending for the last quarter, along with LinkedIn and cloud engineering.

The games R&D spend will no doubt be down to the forthcoming Xbox Series X and associated first-party project development costs, as well as the company's aforementioned xCloud cloud games platform.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.