by Ashley Speicher, Head of Engineering, Xbox Game Pass
It’s been one year since we launched Xbox Game Pass, a monthly membership built for gamers. From the very outset, our goal with Xbox Game Pass has been to provide you with more value and choice by delivering a diverse library of games reflective of the long history of Xbox, as well as create new opportunities for our industry partners that make a positive impact. Thanks to you, this last year has been remarkable – we’ve been humbled by your enthusiasm and support.
Over the last year, we’ve achieved several important milestones based on feedback from our fans. We heard from around the world that you wanted Xbox Game Pass, so we expanded and now support 40 markets across the globe.
You also told us your number one must-have feature was to have more AAA blockbuster titles available. In response, we announced in January that going forward, we plan to release all new Xbox games from Microsoft Studios into Xbox Game Pass the same day as their global launch, including new iterations of future unannounced games from some of our biggest franchises such as Halo, Forza and Gears of War.
So, how is Game Pass creating new opportunities for both gamers and developers? In its first year, Xbox Game Pass has proven to be great for both gamers and game developers as an additive means to drive discovery and engagement of games. The freedom to explore and play more great games is changing gaming habits in incredibly positive ways.
After joining Xbox Game Pass, Game Pass members are playing more games than ever before — not only games in the Game Pass catalogue, but also other Xbox games outside the catalogue. As a result, we’re seeing more active players for games across the board, which is having a notable positive impact for our publishers and developers, including increased sales for games in Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox Game Pass is also creating bigger player communities, more buzz and excitement, and longer lifespan for games that enables our partners to drive more business opportunity. For example, in March, Sea of Thieves marked the first Xbox title to release into Xbox Game Pass timed with its global release, which contributed to a thriving Sea of Thieves community that saw more than 2 million players within its first week of release.
And building on this momentum, in May, we made the second Xbox exclusive title from Microsoft Studios available to Xbox Game Pass members with the release of State of Decay 2 on May 22. The response from our community has been extremely positive, contributing to the over one million players across the globe playing and creating their own zombie survival story.
In addition to our first-party portfolio, we’ve continued to add a variety of new titles for you to explore and enjoy every month, so you always have something new to play. We’ve seen an incredible community response to newer titles in the catalogue such as Pro Evolution Soccer 18, theHunter: Call of the Wild and Clustertruck and can’t wait to bring you more popular titles in the year ahead.
It’s also been exciting to see titles in Xbox Game Pass experience revived gaming communities across a variety of genres and franchises. Games in Xbox Game Pass have a longer tail of engagement, sustain their community and help developers connect with new audiences than before.
What’s more, those same community members often go on to then try the next major release from those franchises thanks to being introduced to new genres and content they may not have otherwise explored, simply by having unlimited access through the Xbox Game Pass catalogue.
We have a long-term commitment and belief in making subscriptions a model that benefits gamers with more choice and game creators with more opportunity. We will continue to invest in this space. We look forward to further evolving Xbox Game Pass by bringing even more great games in the year ahead to continue to meet the needs of gamers and game developers.