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Microsoft says games don’t need to be on Game Pass to be viable on Xbox (VCG)

kingfey

Banned

Microsoft’s head of gaming has said titles don’t have to be on Xbox Game Pass to stand a chance of being successful on the company’s consoles.

During a GDC chat with fellow Xbox exec Sarah Bond, Phil Spencer said he’s frequently asked by developers whether it’s worthwhile releasing their products on Xbox if they’re not on Game Pass.

“I also want to make clear to people that are out there that for us at Xbox, there’s not one business model that we think is going to win,” he said. “I often get asked by developers, ‘if I’m not in the subscription am I just not viable on Xbox anymore?’ and it’s absolutely not true.

“Like we look at retail of people selling games, buying games, it’s an important part of our P&L [profit and loss statement], you know that. And it’s something that we invest resources in to enable our developers to do great work there.”

Xbox Game Pass launched in June 2017 and has become central to Microsoft’s gaming business, attracting over 25 million subscribers as of January 2022, according to the company.

It offers members access to over 100 titles, including all first-party games at launch, for $10 / £8 per month on console or PC. For $15 / £11, users can access the games on console, PC and mobile devices, including via Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claimed last year that Xbox Game Pass subscribers play approximately 40% more games and spend 50% more than non-members.

But Spencer said in the GDC video that Microsoft will continue to support a diverse range of business models including retail, subscription and free-to-play.

“And this is where I sometimes contrast against other forms of media that we get compared to, whether it’s music, whether it’s video, where the models have really condensed down to maybe one or two business models that are working,” he said.

“I fundamentally believe a strength for us in the video game business is the diversity of business models and the strength of those.

“Definitely in team Xbox, we invest in the business models that developers are asking for and ensuring those are flourishing, so that every year we see great new experiences that come to our platform that might never have been built if the business model capability wasn’t there on our platform.”

Last December, Spencer also told Edge that Game Pass isn’t the company’s sole focus going forwards.

“Do I want, or do I envision, everybody who’s on Xbox being a Game Pass subscriber? I don’t,” he said.
 

Leyasu

Gold Member
jurassic park water GIF
 

mansoor1980

Gold Member
“I also want to make clear to people that are out there that for us at Xbox, there’s not one business model that we think is going to win,”
what does this mean? im confused
 

tmlDan

Member
Will they share sales numbers then now? so we can stop guessing, or will they fear the public perception of their "spend 50% more" as people who spend 5 more dollars on MTX since the game is free on GP.

I don't particularly like sales marketing numbers, this is exactly what all my reps do when they're trying to sell me on something.
 

adamsapple

Gold Member
The Video Game Media, being number 1. Number 2........Xbox fanboys that created the narrative that Xbox does want or need the "console".

I haven't seen a single place where any Xbox fan is saying they don't need a console.

Why use made up scenarios to try and make a point.

Show me figures Phil.
Will they share sales numbers then now? so we can stop guessing, or will they fear the public perception of their "spend 50% more" as people who spend 5 more dollars on MTX since the game is free on GP.

I don't particularly like sales marketing numbers, this is exactly what all my reps do when they're trying to sell me on something.

Why does every Xbox thread turn into "BUT WHERE THA NUMBERS" by the same 3, 4 users ?

It's really tiring and does nothing but derail the topic.

Xbox hasn't released numbers since the mid 2010s, I thought we were all well aware of that fact.

when he says PEOPLE , which people? , xbox owners or developers?


Games media, gamers, people on the internet, subscribers, retail shoppers etc.
 
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laynelane

Gold Member
Software outside of GP routinely sells in-line with hardware splits on Xbox. This has already been known forever. Weird they had to clarify that, probably more for the media than anything else.

“I also want to make clear to people that are out there that for us at Xbox, there’s not one business model that we think is going to win,” he said. “I often get asked by developers, ‘if I’m not in the subscription am I just not viable on Xbox anymore?’ and it’s absolutely not true.

I was thinking the above may be one of the reasons why, maybe even the main reason. If he's being asked this frequently by developers, it's probably best to provide some clarity on the issue.

Aside from that, I agree with his point about the diversity of business models in video games. It's a strength of the medium and I hope it stays that way.
 
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adamsapple

Gold Member
I was thinking the above may be one of the reasons why, maybe even the main reason. If he's being asked this frequently by developers, it's probably best to provide some clarity on the issue.

Aside from that, I agree with his point about the diversity of business models in video games. It's a strength of the medium and I hope it stays that way.

Indeed, if you want to subscribe to a service, that's an option. If you don't and want to purchase games at retail, that's also an option.

Neither negate each other.
 

tmlDan

Member
Why does every Xbox thread turn into "BUT WHERE THA NUMBERS" by the same 3, 4 users ?

It's really tiring and does nothing but derail the topic.

Xbox hasn't released numbers since the mid 2010s, I thought we were all well aware of that fact.
Because its a sales tactic at GDC to get devs to believe in it, if the numbers were so positive they would share them - not percentages with no real meaning.

I know from experience, and I don't fall for bullshit like you.
 

kingfey

Banned
Because its a sales tactic at GDC to get devs to believe in it, if the numbers were so positive they would share them - not percentages with no real meaning.

I know from experience, and I don't fall for bullshit like you.
Devs gets the hard numbers, before they sign anything. You should know that at least.
 
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adamsapple

Gold Member
Because its a sales tactic at GDC to get devs to believe in it, if the numbers were so positive they would share them - not percentages with no real meaning.

I know from experience, and I don't fall for bullshit like you.

Repeating the same thing in every Xbox topic doesn't make one enlightened, it just makes them come off like whiners and trolls.

You really think MS doesn't internally share data with publishers ? Or that publishers don't have these metrics already ? The NPD group also doesn't release numbers to the public but the publishers and/or console makers know how much they sold whenever those numbers come out each month.

These numbers aren't available for public consumption. The sooner we come to terms with that and stop derailing each topic with the same drivel, the better.

Devs gets the hard numbers, before they sign anything. You should know that at least.

I'm sure they do, it's just a string of posts to act clever and get forum clout.
 
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yurinka

Member
We already know games are viable outside Gamepass. In any case he question would be the opposite: if it's viable to have your game in Game Pass.

For F2P games, doesn't make sense to include the game in GP because it would be a paid barrier, which is the key behind F2P games, to don't have a paywall.

For paid games that aren't GaaS, without DLC/MTX/passes to increase the revenue to have it there will depend on how much MS pays them to have the game there and if it compensates the lost sales for having it on GP.

For the paid GaaS games with DLC/MTX/passes I assume are the ones he says that their revenue gets increased: by lowering the paid barrier, having a lower paywall way more people play the game, so more DLC/MTX/passes are sold. That makes sense.
 
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ZehDon

Member
Because its a sales tactic at GDC to get devs to believe in it, if the numbers were so positive they would share them - not percentages with no real meaning.

I know from experience, and I don't fall for bullshit like you.
Then your experience should know that Microsoft chose to obfuscate a lot of their numbers ages ago, such as those for Windows and Office - their primary revenue and profit drivers.

I've chosen to interpret the tactics of fewer discrete numbers as part of Microsoft's shift to loss leading subscription services. It takes a while to build the base, where the numbers start to trend up. But, given Microsoft continues to post profits every financial year, I'd say they're doing fine.
 

adamsapple

Gold Member
We already know games are viable outside Gamepass. In any case he question would be the opposite: if it's viable to have your game in Game Pass.

Why wouldn't it be, we already know they cut different deals depending on games. Some get a lump sum inclusion fee, some get, some get fee based on usage and in some cases MS helps in the production and get the game on Game Pass, while the same game can also sell on other platforms.

 

yurinka

Member
Why wouldn't it be, we already know they cut different deals depending on games. Some get a lump sum inclusion fee, some get, some get fee based on usage and in some cases MS helps in the production and get the game on Game Pass, while the same game can also sell on other platforms.

Because if it would be the case everyone would be on GP or in a similar service. But yes, I believe for some it may be a good deal. I heard a couple of cases where they said MS was generous with the amount of money paid for including the game half a year on GP (and the possibility of another payment if both sides agreed to extend it).
 
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adamsapple

Gold Member
Because if it would be the case everyone would be on GP or in a similar service.

Not everyone will make the kind of deals and probably the kind of money MS gives publishers to put games on game pass, especially on day 1.

And then there are cases like RE Village where Sony specifically made contractual deals with Capcom as part of the marketing agreement that the game won't release on any service like game pass for at least a year (or maybe it was two, I don't recall exactly right now).
 

yurinka

Member
Not everyone will make the kind of deals and probably the kind of money MS gives publishers to put games on game pass, especially on day 1.

And then there are cases like RE Village where Sony specifically made contractual deals with Capcom as part of the marketing agreement that the game won't release on any service like game pass for at least a year (or maybe it was two, I don't recall exactly right now).
The cases I heard were day 1 small indies, I assume with publishers/bigger games the deal will be different, with a way bigger payment. Obviously for including an old game they would pay mostly crap, as is the case any game sub.

Regarding the RE Village deal it was a year, plus extra 90 days that Sony had to refuse it or decide to negotiate to include it on a Sony subscription, having exclusivity for first and last negotitation. If Sony decided to negotiate it, then it would be 120 days instead. Meaning that RE Village won't be on GP during at least 15 or 16 months after launch, and if Sony signs it for their subscription then it wouldn't be on GP for an extra period of time that I don't remember. I assume that while being on a Sony sub it wouldn't be on another sub.
 
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kingfey

Banned
Elden Ring is an extreme example but it hitting #2 most played is an obvious sign that’s the case.
They dont have the same userbase as pc or xbox. The numbers would be small. Plus not everyone is fan of souls games. You cant expect everyone to buy the game.
 

adamsapple

Gold Member
The cases I heard were day 1 small indies, I assume with publishers/bigger games the deal will be different, with a way bigger payment. Obviously for including an old game they would pay mostly crap, as is the case any game sub.

Regarding the RE Village deal it was a year, plus extra 90 days that Sony had to refuse it or decide to negotiate to include it on a Sony subscription, having exclusivity for first and last negotitation. If Sony decided to negotiate it, then it would be 120 days instead. Meaning that RE Village won't be on GP during at least 15 or 16 months after launch, and if Sony signs it for their subscription then it wouldn't be on GP for an extra period of time that I don't remember. I assume that while being on a Sony sub it wouldn't be on another sub.

Well there you go, prior contractual obligations are probably one of the many reasons not every game/publisher is on GP.
 

Dr Bass

Member
Repeating the same thing in every Xbox topic doesn't make one enlightened, it just makes them come off like whiners and trolls.

You really think MS doesn't internally share data with publishers ? Or that publishers don't have these metrics already ? The NPD group also doesn't release numbers to the public but the publishers and/or console makers know how much they sold whenever those numbers come out each month.

These numbers aren't available for public consumption. The sooner we come to terms with that and stop derailing each topic with the same drivel, the better.



I'm sure they do, it's just a string of posts to act clever and get forum clout.

Actually they likely don't. Remember that video call the Take Two CEO had with Phil where he said, "what are the GP subs now, 30 million?" and Phil laughed? A bunch of people took that as a sign that that was THE number, and the reasoning was "surely MS is sharing numbers behind the scenes!" And that the Take Two CEO goofed by accidentally leaking it.

Those who were more thoughtfully looking at the numbers didn't think it was the case.

And those people were right. So the Take Two CEO had no idea and wasn't even close. So he didn't have the numbers. If he doesn't, then who does? The evidence points to MS not sharing. We can only go by the evidence. Surely you agree?

There is a reason companies stop sharing numbers. It's because the numbers don't match the narrative they want to sell. There is no reason to hide numbers that match the story you are trying to tell. Apple used to share all iPhone sales numbers, and then right as growth in sales stopped ... they stopped sharing numbers. Huh. Interesting isn't it? MS is hardly the only company that does this. I swear though, some of the people here ... if you had big money, you would have been perfect investors for Theranos.
 
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elliot5

Member
They dont have the same userbase as pc or xbox. The numbers would be small. Plus not everyone is fan of souls games. You cant expect everyone to buy the game.
Im confused as to what youre saying?

Elden Ring is a premium non game pass title that hit #2 most played only losing to Fortnite.
 

kingfey

Banned
Actually they likely don't. Remember that video call the Take Two CEO had with Phil where he said, "what are the GP subs now, 30 million?" and Phil laughed? A bunch of people took that as a sign that that was THE number, and the reasoning was "surely MS is sharing numbers behind the scenes!" And that the Take Two CEO goofed by accidentally leaking it.

Those who were more thoughtfully looking at the numbers didn't think it was the case.

And those people were right. So the Take Two CEO had no idea and wasn't even close. So he didn't have the numbers. If he doesn't, then who does? The evidence points to MS not sharing. We can only go by the evidence. Surely you agree?

There is a reason companies stop sharing numbers. It's because the numbers don't match the narrative they want to sell. There is no reason to hide numbers that match the story you are trying to tell. Apple used to share all iPhone sales numbers, and then right as growth in sales stopped ... they stopped sharing numbers. Huh. Interesting isn't it? MS is hardly the only company that does this. I swear though, some of the people here ... if you had big money, you would have been perfect investors for Theranos.
Isnt that the same guy that said, subscription arent sustainable, despite putting his games on subscription service?

I doubt anyone will trust what that guy says,
 

kingfey

Banned
Im confused as to what youre saying?

Elden Ring is a premium non game pass title that hit #2 most played only losing to Fortnite.
They lost to fortnite for godsake
Angry Aubrey Plaza GIF by Parks and Recreation


That is not great. Xbox players should have put that game on number 1. If it werent for those pesky low users.
 

Dr Bass

Member
Isnt that the same guy that said, subscription arent sustainable, despite putting his games on subscription service?

I doubt anyone will trust what that guy says,
Right. The CEO of Take Two is now not trust worthy because he doesn't echo the story the devout want to believe. You couldn't make this stuff up. Over video games ...
 

kingfey

Banned
Right. The CEO of Take Two is now not trust worthy because he doesn't echo the story the devout want to believe. You couldn't make this stuff up. Over video games ...
You are getting this topic too much emotional man. Chill out.

I understand you dont like phil alot. But thinking of him like that, isnt healthy for you.
 

adamsapple

Gold Member
Actually they likely don't. Remember that video call the Take Two CEO had with Phil where he said, "what are the GP subs now, 30 million?" and Phil laughed? A bunch of people took that as a sign that that was THE number, and the reasoning was "surely MS is sharing numbers behind the scenes!" And that the Take Two CEO goofed by accidentally leaking it.

Those who were more thoughtfully looking at the numbers didn't think it was the case.

And those people were right. So the Take Two CEO had no idea and wasn't even close. So he didn't have the numbers. If he doesn't, then who does? The evidence points to MS not sharing. We can only go by the evidence. Surely you agree?

There is a reason companies stop sharing numbers. It's because the numbers don't match the narrative they want to sell. There is no reason to hide numbers that match the story you are trying to tell. Apple used to share all iPhone sales numbers, and then right as growth in sales stopped ... they stopped sharing numbers. Huh. Interesting isn't it? MS is hardly the only company that does this. I swear though, some of the people here ... if you had big money, you would have been perfect investors for Theranos.

This is nothing but a lot of baseless speculation on your part here.

Here's how the exchange went:


Phil did not corroborate the number and simply stated the last official numbers, anyone who read anything from, it's on themselves only.

Not too long after this, we got the official numbers that it was at 25m subscribers which itself is very likely now an outdated number.

The conversation between the two was at a talk show style event, not a business arrangement.

And no, we really shouldn't expect the CEO of Take Two to know exactly how many GP subscribers there are, that's not his concern, his concern is likely knowing how many units his games sell on different platforms.

There is a reason companies stop sharing numbers. It's because the numbers don't match the narrative they want to sell.





Didn't only 16% of Elden Ring's sales come on Xbox?


UK only numbers.
 
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elliot5

Member
Didn't only 16% of Elden Ring's sales come on Xbox?
In europe. 16% vs about 40% on PS, the rest on PC. Sounds about right for a near 2:1 sales lead across Europe for PlayStation. What’s your point? Local to Xbox, Elden Ring was the #2 top game I believe in the US at least which makes the Europe sales even less statistically relevant.
 
Indeed, if you want to subscribe to a service, that's an option. If you don't and want to purchase games at retail, that's also an option.

Neither negate each other.
Well that's a stark contrast to what we see online and her at Gaf. Almost every xbox owner says they rather wait for the game to hit gamepass than buy it at retail to save money. So one does negate the other.
 

adamsapple

Gold Member
In europe. 16% vs about 40% on PS, the rest on PC. Sounds about right for a near 2:1 sales lead across Europe for PlayStation. What’s your point? Local to Xbox, Elden Ring was the #2 top game I believe in the US at least which makes the Europe sales even less statistically relevant.

Not even Europe, those were UK only numbers.


Well that's a stark contrast to what we see online and her at Gaf. Almost every xbox owner says they rather wait for the game to hit gamepass than buy it at retail to save money. So one does negate the other.

If that were the case, games like Elden Ring wouldn't be on top of the most played games on Xbox just shy of Fortnite.

GAF users are a very very very tiny subset of all Xbox owners.
 
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kingfey

Banned
Well that's a stark contrast to what we see online and her at Gaf. Almost every xbox owner says they rather wait for the game to hit gamepass than buy it at retail to save money. So one does negate the other.
I doubt anyone is that stupid. People dont wait for games they like. They buy them when they can.
 

Topher

Gold Member
This is nothing but a lot of baseless speculation on your part here.

Here's how the exchange went:



Phil did not corroborate the number and simply stated the last official numbers, anyone who read anything from, it's on themselves only.

Not too long after this, we got the official numbers that it was at 25m subscribers which itself is very likely now an outdated number.

The conversation between the two was at a talk show style event, not a business arrangement.

And no, we really shouldn't expect the CEO of Take Two to know exactly how many GP subscribers there are, that's not his concern, his concern is likely knowing how many units his games sell on different platforms.










UK only numbers. UK =/= world.

That's fine, but you were not a member when a heck of a lot of people were arguing with me and others who were claiming the Take Two CEO was talking absolute truth. In reality, he had no idea.


Too bad you were not here. Lots of folks you can put that tinfoil hat on after the fact. Convenient.
 
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adamsapple

Gold Member
That's fine, but you were not a member when a heck of a lot of people were arguing with me and others that the Take Two CEO was talking absolute truth. In reality, he had no idea.


Too bad you were not here. Lots of folks you can put that tinfoil hat on after the fact. So convenient.


I see a lot of people sharing the same skepticism that if it were true it would probably come out of an MS PR first, happy to see that. Please don't ask me to scan through every page of that old topic lol.
 

kingfey

Banned
That's fine, but you were not a member when a heck of a lot of people were arguing with me and others who were claiming the Take Two CEO was talking absolute truth. In reality, he had no idea.


Too bad you were not here. Lots of folks you can put that tinfoil hat on after the fact. Convenient.
Looks at the date of that post. Looks at the date of my account.
This is some big sorcery for me, to not pay attention to that post.

I guess, it was that bad.
 

watdaeff4

Member
“I also want to make clear to people that are out there that for us at Xbox, there’s not one business model that we think is going to win,”
what does this mean? im confused
It’s called diversification and being flexible

Or as my 96 yo grandmother would say

“They ain’t putting all their eggs in one basket”
 

Topher

Gold Member
I see a lot of people sharing the same skepticism that if it were true it would probably come out of an MS PR first, happy to see that. Please don't ask me to scan through every page of that old topic lol.

Then you only read what you wanted to read. Sure....ignore it then.

Looks at the date of that post. Looks at the date of my account.
This is some big sorcery for me, to not pay attention to that post.

I guess, it was that bad.

Probably during your self-imposed ban that you tried to fake your way out of with an alt account.
 
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