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Business Analysis Sales-Age MAT PISCATELLA (NPD): Still No Sign GamePass Cannibalizes Game Sales

For those who have GamePass and still buy the games present anyway, what's the main reason why?

  • The price discounts

    Votes: 5 19.2%
  • Fear of the game not being there forever

    Votes: 5 19.2%
  • Just to show extra support for the developer/publisher

    Votes: 4 15.4%
  • I buy it but physical for longevity/collectibility reasons

    Votes: 4 15.4%
  • I buy it physically but not for Xbox (PC, PlayStation, Switch)

    Votes: 4 15.4%
  • I buy it digitally but not for Xbox (PC, PlayStation, Switch)

    Votes: 4 15.4%

  • Total voters
    26
  • Poll closed .
Aug 28, 2019
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Someone brings up Gears 5; Mat's response:


Considering MS 1P games like Forza have continued to do well in spite of GamePass and that MLB The Show was #2 best-selling game on Xbox platforms for April (not counting digital sales, so in actuality it may've been #1 best-selling game there as was on PlayStation platforms for the month), I'm inclined to agree. People seem to forget sometimes that games in the GamePass service have a discount available and titles not 1P offerings aren't guaranteed to stay there forever, which probably increases the likelihood of people to buy specific games they enjoy so they can always have access to it.

(Also in relation to Gears 5 I personally think that is due to franchise fatigue mainly.)

Anyway, just thought this was interesting and worth a share; reading the responses on Era has been hilarious as usual because a lot of people there are suddenly doubting Mat on face value but have not questioned his statements on sales before when it relates to certain other products. They're treating the guy's analysis like a kid in a backyard when he literally works for NPD and has access to data we only wish we could still have access to as fans. Sadly it's not the mid-2000s' anymore :(.

Anyway, for those who have GamePass, how are your purchasing habits generally shaped by it for the platform? Do you see yourself buying games in spite of being on the service and if so for what reason? Would be interesting to hear.
 

SLB1904

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It was pretty evident when outriders had only 3.5mil players even with game pass. Psn and pc
 
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elliot5

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I still haven't bought a game for my Xbox because I have so much shit to play on it right now + on PC. Eventually I might, like how the KH collection is leaving soon. I'll probably buy the All in One package when it goes on sale soon.
 

IntentionalPun

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"Not sure if that's supposed to be a gotcha"... errr... the quoted statement suggests that GamePass cannibalized sales of Gears 5, which was just.. sort of plainly obvious.

That's fine to stand by that statement, but it certainly is a contradiction.
 

GHG

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Show some data then.

Using an engagement tracker rather than sales makes no sense. I'm happy to wait until we have some actual sales figures for titles that launch on gamepass before having the discussion.

It was pretty evident when outriders had only 3.5mil players even with game pass. Psn and pc

Players != sales.
 
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SLB1904

I'm a massive child who is on perm notice for crying about plastic boxes.
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Show some data then.

Using an engagement tracker rather than sales makes no sense.



Players != sales.
I mean that's what I'm saying. 3.5 is too low for a game that supposed to be free with a subscription plus other platforms
 
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Plantoid

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I will never buy a game that isn't fromsoftware's or rockstar anymore
Even if I don't play the game day one, IDC, eventually I will play it, for "free"
 

Dabaus

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A new game showing up as number 2 on a xbox sales chart doesnt mean gamepass wasnt a factor in people not purchasing the game. Whose to say if gamepass didnt exist it wouldnt have been in first place instead of second?
 

GHG

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I mean that's what I'm saying. 3.5 is too low for a game that supposed to be free with a subscription plus other platforms

The thing is that it's difficult to gauge how much a new IP like Outriders should be selling. We have no historical data to look back on. The best we can do in such a case is look at similar new IP's and look at the sales splits/numbers to determine what kind of impact gamepass may or may not have had on sales.

Maybe something like The Division or even Remnant From the Ashes might prove to be be good reference points.
 
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"Not sure if that's supposed to be a gotcha"... errr... the quoted statement suggests that GamePass cannibalized sales of Gears 5, which was just.. sort of plainly obvious.

That's fine to stand by that statement, but it certainly is a contradiction.

I still question if it did to be perfectly honest; Gears was already undergoing some franchise fatigue before 5 came out and while 5 was a pretty good game it didn't reinvent the wheel the way, say, GoW did for its IP.

It's only seemingly the only MS 1P game that can have such a correlation made; others like Sea of Thieves, Forza, MCC etc. have not seen sales reductions due to GamePass and might've seen gains instead. So it's just a bit weird to hold onto one game that seems more the exception vs. the rule, and I'd take Mat's analysis on this since, well, he actually has access to the data and wouldn't be making such a statement if they didn't see a similar perspective (also keep in mind he's been critical of GamePass before and put out the "it's not sustainable" odd worded tweet just a few weeks ago that got interpreted all kinds of ways).

I mean that's what I'm saying. 3.5 is too low for a game that supposed to be free with a subscription plus other platforms

Lots of AA games would kill for 3.5 million sales/users/etc., especially brand new IP so I don't see how that's a disappointment. Most games rarely sell anything near 1:1 with a given platform/service install base; "sell" can also be interpreted as "played by" in this game's case.
 
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SLB1904

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Those numbers are great for a game like that particularly one that had major server issues in it's first week, more than anyone expected.... and not even sure what you are trying to suggest here. We don't know the game's sales, or their sales expectations.
Like I said the game is basically free for gamepass users. Plus ps4 and PC 3.5mil is too low.
 

kretos

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talking about sales and saying

Sales data alone isn't adequate to gauge the performance of Game Pass

 

Bergoglio

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Not buying a damn thing anymore! 🤷🏾‍♂️
This.

I don’t buying anything, anymore. And I spent more hours daily on Series X than PS5, due to the subscription.

The only games I will pay for will be Sony exclusives, discounted.
 
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IntentionalPun

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Like I said the game is basically free for gamepass users. Plus ps4 and PC 3.5mil is too low.

Explain how this number being low (to you), somehow means GamePass cannibalized sales?

I'm not saying it didn't.. but.. you aren't making any sense.. we'd need to know the sales numbers to even know that.. sales on Xbox, Playstation.. and then players on Xbox who didn't buy. Cannibalizing sales is not lowering engagement...
 
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Show some data then.

Well, guys like Mat have access to the data and surely would've checked it before making statements like the ones he's made. You'd need to ask Square-Enix to provide that data; Mat's not going to break agreed terms with the industry to post numbers for a select few games that could get the NPD in a whole host of legal trouble.

Using an engagement tracker rather than sales makes no sense. I'm happy to wait until we have some actual sales figures for titles that launch on gamepass before having the discussion.

Like was said above, you'd need to ask Square-Enix. Maybe they will provide hard numbers in some future earnings report, but ultimately it will fall on them. The closest equivalent we have ATM is, ironically enough, MLB The Show; it debuted at #1 on PlayStation and #2 on Xbox, the latter without counting digital sales, so it's possible it actually debuted #1 there as well with digital sales accounted for.

And we already know it was available on GamePass day-and-date; maybe when Sony does their next earnings call they will give sales figure numbers (dunno how they can do this with Xbox versions since MLB published the game there, maybe MLB will post their own figures?).

A new game showing up as number 2 on a xbox sales chart doesnt mean gamepass wasnt a factor in people not purchasing the game. Whose to say if gamepass didnt exist it wouldnt have been in first place instead of second?

Well it's #2 without accounting for digital sales so it's actually possible it may've been #1 all said and done if digital sales are accounted for (as the #1 Xbox game listed there, COD, had its digital sales accounted for).
 
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SLB1904

I'm a massive child who is on perm notice for crying about plastic boxes.
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Explain how this number being low (to you), somehow means GamePass cannibalized sales?

I'm not saying it didn't.. but.. you aren't making any sense.. we'd need to know the sales numbers to even know that.. sales on Xbox, Playstation.. and then players on Xbox who didn't buy. Cannibalizing sales is not lowering engagement...
3.5 mil for a game somewhat hyped as soon as people find out is coming to gamepass. Plus roughly 200mil players from PC and ps. Yeah is too low. And no I don't think gamepass is cannibalising sales. Maybe xbox sales but thats it
 

JerryinSoCal

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I still question if it did to be perfectly honest; Gears was already undergoing some franchise fatigue before 5 came out and while 5 was a pretty good game it didn't reinvent the wheel the way, say, GoW did for its IP.

It's only seemingly the only MS 1P game that can have such a correlation made; others like Sea of Thieves, Forza, MCC etc. have not seen sales reductions due to GamePass and might've seen gains instead. So it's just a bit weird to hold onto one game that seems more the exception vs. the rule, and I'd take Mat's analysis on this since, well, he actually has access to the data and wouldn't be making such a statement if they didn't see a similar perspective (also keep in mind he's been critical of GamePass before and put out the "it's not sustainable" odd worded tweet just a few weeks ago that got interpreted all kinds of ways).
Sea of Thieves only sold a little more than a million copies while over 15 million people have actually played it, it was a new IP and there wasn't enough to it to make it worth a purchase for quite a while. The Forza games launched early on in GP so don't expect the next releases in either the mainline game or the horizon games to sell anywhere near as many copies. Gears was the latest 1st party AAA game to launch (MS output is pathetic lol) and you saw what happened there, only number 7 on NPD in the first month and out of the top 20 in the second month.
 

ethomaz

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Show some data then.

Using an engagement tracker rather than sales makes no sense. I'm happy to wait until we have some actual sales figures for titles that launch on gamepass before having the discussion.



Players != sales.
He can’t.
All Day One Gamepass titles had lower sales on Xbox compared with previous entries.

What he is trying to spin is that the interest in the game increased with Gamepass but sales are still in the bottom line.

Unless you have a full focused GASS game to to recover these day one sales revenue via MTX... that works for F2P GASS too.
 
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Kokoloko85

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So users are double dipping in games they have on gamepass and then buying it separately too?
So whats the point of having gamepass if there gonna buy the game separately lol? Isn’t that the whole point not having to buy the games?

Pretty sure if I get a game on PS+ I wont go buy it separately. Very rarely Probably never. Of course it effects sales lol
 

Fake

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Well, guys like Mat have access to the data and surely would've checked it before making statements like the ones he's made.

Everyone can have lol. I have here too, but can't show right now.
Since he enter resetera, he stop giving numbers probably because some companies don't want him to reveal.


BTW, do you know he blocks everyone that ask numbers to him everytime he made a statment?
 
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Sea of Thieves only sold a little more than a million copies while over 15 million people have actually played it, it was a new IP and there wasn't enough to it to make it worth a purchase for quite a while. The Forza games launched early on in GP so don't expect the next releases in either the mainline game or the horizon games to sell anywhere near as many copies. Gears was the latest 1st party AAA game to launch (MS output is pathetic lol) and you saw what happened there, only number 7 on NPD in the first month and out of the top 20 in the second month.

Are those only early SoT sales figures or have they been tracked as up-to-date? All I know is that it continues to do very well on Steam sales charts and has been for several months now. WRT Forza, well yeah there's a chance sales could be lower but racing games in general aren't the massive sales juggernauts they used to be, by and large, and would benefit a lot from the type of model GamePass can provide so I doubt MS will be fussed about lower sales if it means more DLC sales and revenue through sub boosts.

Gears Tactics...did that NPD account just for when it came out on PC or was that for the Xbox version? I'd have to imagine the Xbox ones since PC sales would be via Steam and I think Steam keeps their own numbers for sales tracking. Gears Tactics' performance could possibly be put on franchise fatigue plus the fact it's a RTS game which maybe isn't what a lot of the Gears fanbase are looking for (in fact I'm not even sure how popular RTS games are on console as a whole outside of the Fire Emblem series).
 
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I basically keep a close eye on what's leaving and make purchasing decisions based on that.

I also would sometimes buy on a different platform. Stellaris, for example, is much different on Xbox compared to PC. It's kindal ike Warframe, where PC is ahead of the Xbox version.

So I played originally on Xbox gamepass, but then it was on a steeper discount on Steam along with all of the dlc so I ended up buying on Steam.

That being said, I haven't bought a whole lot of games that have been or are still on Gamepass as the one's I play mostly are still available on the service.

Also to consider is that I do subscribe to Humble Bundle and a lot of times there is overlap between the games available through humble bundle and what's on gamepass. So I'll end up getting the game there instead.

My steam library is immense.
 

vaibhavpisal

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I mean that's what I'm saying. 3.5 is too low for a game that supposed to be free with a subscription plus other platforms

I had access to it but never touched it. My time is more important than playing average AAA games for free.

Dont know how much gamepass contributed, but 3.5 million is a lot for that game. Even Avengers didnt had that many players.

Now Square wants to make it a big franchise.
 

SLB1904

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I had access to it but never touched it. My time is more important than playing average AAA games for free.

Dont know how much gamepass contributed, but 3.5 million is a lot for that game. Even Avengers didnt had that many players.

Now Square wants to make it a big franchise.
You will get sequel that will bomb. And you'll never hear about it ever again
 

JerryinSoCal

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Seems like a silly thing for him to say because most games on GP are older titles, MS doesn't release enough new stuff to gauge that. The last AAA game MS released was Gears 5 and it dropped out of the top 20 in it's second month.
 

JerryinSoCal

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Are those only early SoT sales figures or have they been tracked as up-to-date? All I know is that it continues to do very well on Steam sales charts and has been for several months now. WRT Forza, well yeah there's a chance sales could be lower but racing games in general aren't the massive sales juggernauts they used to be, by and large, and would benefit a lot from the type of model GamePass can provide so I doubt MS will be fussed about lower sales if it means more DLC sales and revenue through sub boosts.

Gears Tactics...did that NPD account just for when it came out on PC or was that for the Xbox version? I'd have to imagine the Xbox ones since PC sales would be via Steam and I think Steam keeps their own numbers for sales tracking. Gears Tactics' performance could possibly be put on franchise fatigue plus the fact it's a RTS game which maybe isn't what a lot of the Gears fanbase are looking for (in fact I'm not even sure how popular RTS games are on console as a whole outside of the Fire Emblem series).
Sea of Thieves is only $20 on steam.
 
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I’m not really sure what Mat is arguing.

Is GamePass canabalizing sales of Sony/Nintendo exclusives? Well, no.

is it canabalizing some Microsoft exclusives like gears 5 that are AAA and otherwise command a $60-70 price? Yes

is it providing an increase to sales or micro transactions for experimental type games that otherwise couldn’t justify $60-70? Quite likely in some cases

Obviously not a one size fits all analysis
 

PropellerEar

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Also I think GP is eating sales of other games than the ones on the subscription.

Theres a lot of "I will wait for it to be on GP" mentality going on.
 
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Fredrik

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How long will this talk continue? Another year? I’m playing a ton on Xbox but I’ve only bought one game for Xbox so far this year, AC Unity at a sale, the rest has been played through GP.
 

IntentionalPun

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I’m not really sure what Mat is arguing.

Is GamePass canabalizing sales of Sony/Nintendo exclusives? Well, no.

is it canabalizing some Microsoft exclusives like gears 5 that are AAA and otherwise command a $60-70 price? Yes

is it providing an increase to sales or micro transactions for experimental type games that otherwise couldn’t justify $60-70? Quite likely in some cases

Obviously not a one size fits all analysis

He's saying "sales volume" so he probably is just saying "no evidence Gamepass has caused gaming to lose software sales" lol

GamePass came out, but stonks still went up!
 
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NickFire

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The "traditional model" accounts for only 26% of Sony's revenue. It's clearly dying.

I'd say its a leap way too far to call it dying. I understand why you would argue that based only on the numbers, but I think a little reflection is in order. For instance, would Sony (gaming) have even 1/2 of its total revenue left if you took the 26% away? I'd say probably not even close to it for a couple reasons. First, the primary sale often drives the add on sale obviously. Second, it is the lure of those games being sold in traditional ways that lure so many people onto PS generally. In other words, Spiderman gets people on PS, and then they spend hundreds on Fortnite skins on PS. Without Spiderman, they might have bought their skins on a different platform.
 
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Jaybe

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Eh... I don’t plan on buying any games for the next 2.5 years while I’m locked in with GPU, either Xbox, PC, PS4 or Switch. I haven’t yet since having it. Only got CP077 as a gift. I’ll wait for Mass Effect and It take two to hit the Vault.

Maybe it helps some multiplayer games like a Gears 5, SoT, or Outriders when people see many on their friends list play it. Or it becomes a topic of conversation in the community more, or twitch streams. I’ve got to see the numbers though, because as an individual consumer, it’s not validated.
 

DaGwaphics

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I still question if it did to be perfectly honest; Gears was already undergoing some franchise fatigue before 5 came out and while 5 was a pretty good game it didn't reinvent the wheel the way, say, GoW did for its IP.

It's only seemingly the only MS 1P game that can have such a correlation made; others like Sea of Thieves, Forza, MCC etc. have not seen sales reductions due to GamePass and might've seen gains instead. So it's just a bit weird to hold onto one game that seems more the exception vs. the rule, and I'd take Mat's analysis on this since, well, he actually has access to the data and wouldn't be making such a statement if they didn't see a similar perspective (also keep in mind he's been critical of GamePass before and put out the "it's not sustainable" odd worded tweet just a few weeks ago that got interpreted all kinds of ways).

I can completely see it that GP might lower sales of first-party titles on Xbox. As more and more Xbox users subscribe to GP, why buy something that is available for free? Just seems logical. Unless, the exposure generated from GP increases the buy-in from non GP users enough to cover any losses, but that seems like it would be harder and harder to do over time.

I have more of a problem with the idea that GP kills sales for titles that aren't in GP or the platform as a whole, that doesn't seem realistic.
 

Bryank75

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The Gears 5 tweet is damning and then you can couple that with sales data out of the UK and it does not paint a pretty picture.....


I mean, he can say what he likes but the data points to a very different picture than the one he is trying to assert.
 
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