Xbox head Phil Spencer spoke this week on the possibilities afforded to Microsoft with Xbox Game Pass. Much as it is with other parts of the entertainment universe with streaming music and streaming video, Xbox Game Pass allows Microsoft to see the success of a game in a new way, not just based on unit sales. Because of this, Xbox Game Pass allows Microsoft to create games they’d not otherwise have even considered developing.
Per a Polygon interview, Spencer said that Game Pass gives them “a larger creative canvas to build on.” With Game Pass, a game’s success isn’t measured by the same factors as it was with traditional game sales.
“We now have a platform that can really support us taking more creative risk,” said Spencer. “There’s an opportunity for us to do that with more franchises… What is it in our portfolio that we have And what ideas would we either like to go back and revisit or experiment with more?”
Instead of watching individual unit sales, Microsoft looks at the subscriber system, and a whole different set of numbers. “Well wait a minute,” said Spencer, describing Microsoft’s process in deciding what games to make and when, “We have over 10 million subscribers in the subscription. How many of those people will play and get retained and be a part of the subscription?”
“It really creates a different way for us to evaluate what games we go off and build,” said Spencer. “And allows us to do somethings that frankly, we wouldn’t go do if we were just driven by the retail dynamics of the industry.”
As confirmed on July 16, 2020, “all Xbox Game Studios titles launch into Xbox Game Pass the same day as their global release.” This will include Halo, Forza, Age of Empires, Gears of War, Minecraft, Hellblade, The Outer Worlds, Psychonauts, Microsoft Flight Simulator, State of Decay, Wasteland, Minecraft Dungeons, Sea of Thieves, and more. Cross your fingers the titles start to get a bit more weird soon, given the possibilities Spencer says they’ve been afforded.