How Xbox Game Pass Has Succeeded, According to Microsoft


Xbox president Sarah Bond recently discussed how Microsoft's popular Game Pass service has succeeded. And as it turns out, Bond and her team spent a whole bunch of time studying existing entertainment subscription services.

In an interview with Auren Hoffman, Bond explained that the team began to ask questions such as, "Do we think there's demand for it? How many people do we think would rather consume their content through subscriptions versus not? What does it mean to only have the content in a subscription versus giving an option?"

Bond explains that she believes Game Pass works because "Xbox isn't a product. It's a platform that carries a lot of products." Bond added that the team wanted to "embrace a diversity of business models," which led the team to take into consideration the types of consumers who "buy one game and play it all year" as well as those who "love the idea of having access to hundreds of games and being able to skip around and play."

This is what helps Game Pass because, unlike other subscription services, many of the titles on Game Pass don't truly have an end. For multiplayer games, it's about connecting with other people online. However, there are still players who prefer single-player experiences, but these are often "based off a deep narrative, that act more like TV shows," according to Bond, and keep them coming back for more.

The Xbox Game Pass model works because it supports both types of players. Bond explains that if it went with a business plan similar to Netflix.

"We would accidentally really limit the scope of the games that could be successful in our world. So that's a big difference when we look at all these other consumer businesses versus what we're doing is like. Look, we're about enabling a set of business model diversity, giving people a ton of different levers, of which Game Pass is one and other subscriptions that live on our platform [are others] so that you have the maximum availability of games to play and experiences that people could have."

For more Xbox-related news, check out our story detailing how Xbox games will be made with AI under a new deal.

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