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Developers Claim Game Pass Has Caused A Behavioral Shift That Has Led To Very Few Sales On Xbox

Developers have claimed that Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service has caused a behavioral shift that has led to very few sales on Xbox.

Skill Up associate Edmond Tran recently had the opportunity to interview a series of anonymous game developers, and the overall takeaway regarding Xbox was that Game Pass has resulted in a behavioral shift that has led to very few sales on the platform.

Xbox game pass sales

The general sentiment among developers is that the existence of Xbox Game Pass has created a vicious cycle. One such developer released an award-winning title on Xbox more than two years ago after initially releasing on other platforms. They mentioned that their game’s sales on Xbox have been the weakest. “It’s a bit like trying to sell a DVD to someone who uses Netflix. Sure, people still do that from time to time but you’re not targeting the right audience”, they said.

As for the challenges involved in porting to Xbox and its financially worth, another developer with a small team working on an indie title said that the difficulty of releasing games for Xbox consoles is low on the list of reasons not to consider the platform. They added that this is especially true in a world where the Switch or Steam Deck is the optimization target.

Meanwhile, one developer pointed towards the large number of Xbox configurations to tackle, namely Xbox One, Xbox One X, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Windows PC. According to them, it isn’t healthy for small indie game developers to port to five different hardware platforms.

When it comes to indie titles, things aren’t a whole lot better on the Sony side of things either. While PlayStation ports led to better sales than Xbox, some still trailed significantly behind PC and Switch. According to one developer, it makes more sense to ship an indie title on Xbox and PlayStation some time after launch, when they can strike a deal with either console maker for their respective subscription service. Doing so has become more of a necessity. Another developer said that if they release a game on Xbox without Game Pass, they miss out on the majority of the player base, which is essentially only playing games via the subscription service.

Muhammad Ali Bari

Muhammad Ali Bari has a knack for covering reviews. He manages our content pipeline, creates timelines for scheduled editorial tasks, and helps us cover exciting content. In his spare time, he enjoys playing multiplayer games.

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