Xbox Game Pass Helps Sales if a Game is Good, But Hurts Them if it’s Bad Says NPD

Nathan Birch
Xbox Game Pass

Since the launch of Xbox Game Pass, a persistent question has remained – does it help or hurt games sales? Game Pass is a success for Microsoft, as the money they make from all those subscriptions almost certainly makes up for any loss of first-party game sales, but what about the individual publishers that put their games on the service? Are they hurting their bottom line?

Well, according to the NPD Group’s Mat Piscatella, the answer is, for the most part, no. Putting a title on Game Pass can amplify consumer excitement and sales, but only if the game is received well. If your game isn’t so hot, or perhaps just has a weak launch, Game Pass can cut the opposite way, amplifying negative sentiment and damaging sales.

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So yes, Xbox Game Pass can be a powerful tool, but only if you use it properly. Forza Horizon 5 just set a launch month sales record for the franchise despite being a Day 1 Game Pass release. Meanwhile, some other Game Pass releases, like Square Enix’s Outriders, seemingly haven’t turned out so well. I think the day when a Game Pass release makes sense for all, or even most, games is still some ways away.

What are your thoughts on all this? Does a game releasing on Xbox Game Pass change your perception or buying habits?

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