Xbox Game Pass now has 34 million subscribers, but still far from its goal

Xbox Game Pass has gained 9 million new subscribers in 2 years while its initial goal of 100 million subscribers to reach by 2030 seems unrealistic.

Part of the large Xbox Game Pass catalog

It’s been more than two years since Microsoft last communicated on the number of subscribers to its Xbox Game Pass subscription service. During a special episode of the Official Xbox Podcast, during which Phil Spencer, Matt Booty and Sarah Bond discussed the future of the Xbox brand, we finally got some news on the health of Game Pass.

And it must be said that the figures indicate certain growth for the service, but slower progress than expected by Microsoft, for several reasons.

34 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers

Phil Spencer thus revealed the figure of 34 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers, an increase of 36% compared to the previous figure of 25 million revealed in 2022. That year, Microsoft planned to reach 100 million. subscribers by 2030, an ambitious objective to say the least which now seems unattainable.

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Several clarifications were made by Microsoft regarding these figures: Phil Spencer indeed declared to Stephen Titilo of Video Games Chronicle that these 9 million additional subscriptions were “ fully paid » and did not include players who took advantage of promotions or free offers.

Many of these new ones come from PC, but also from the Cloud, while the share of players who converted their old Xbox Live Gold subscription to Game Pass Core was “ rather weak » according to Phil Spencer. In 2022, the old Xbox service had 11.7 million subscribers before its name change, we imagine that many of these players have been converted to the Game Pass offer since.

To tell the truth, we could expect these figures: if Xbox is doing well as a brand, now overtaking Windows after the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Game Pass is struggling to progress on console, quite simply, because the installed base is already equipped, but is struggling to expand.

The economic context also plays a huge role in the balance, while many other subscription services, such as Disney+, Max or even Apple TV+, have also lost subscribers in recent months.

Activision Blizzard to the rescue?

In an interview with The Verge, Phil Spencer wanted to clarify Xbox’s strategy with Game Pass:

Ultimately, and I know some people don’t believe me when I say this, our goal is not to get everyone to subscribe to Game Pass. I have said many times that 10 to 15% of content and service revenue comes from subscribers. It’s a good deal for us today, Game Pass, but there’s by no means a plan that says, “Okay, everyone has to become a Game Pass subscriber.”

The number of subscribers has not increased as much as expected despite the releases of Starfieldlast September, then again with the phenomenonPalworldsince January, even if the service remains dependent on the attractiveness of its catalog. Sarah Bond announced the availability of the first Activision Blizzard game,Diablo IVfor March 28 in the subscription service, even if the game will not be available for Xbox Game Pass Core subscribers.

Game Pass is certainly a success, which has profoundly impacted the video game industry and even influenced its competitors PlayStation, but a success on which Microsoft cannot rely to advance the Xbox brand and remain financially profitable.

This is why the firm is now opening up to other platforms such as the PS5 and the Switch, a logical strategic development in an era where games exclusive to a single console will have “an increasingly restricted share in the video game industry» in the next 5 to 10 according to Phil Spencer.

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