Wednesday, September 23rd 2020

Xbox Game Pass Surpasses 15 Million Subscribers

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass continues to grow at a remarkable rate with the subscription service recently surpassing 15 million subscribers. Microsoft have been heavily investing in the service bringing more games onboard with EA Play inclusion and the recent acquisition of Bethesda. Select games from this growing catalog are now available on mobile devices through Microsoft Project xCloud in addition to the existing PC library. Microsoft's large investment in the service is beginning to pay off with subscriptions increasing by 5 million in just 6 months and the service will likely play as a major drawcard for next-generation systems.
Source: Microsoft
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27 Comments on Xbox Game Pass Surpasses 15 Million Subscribers

#1
londiste
Still counting the 1$€£ subscribers, I assume :)

Game Pass being or becoming a major drawcard for next-gen (and PC!) is correct though.
Posted on Reply
#2
silentbogo
londiste
Still counting the 1$€£ subscribers, I assume :)
At least those are "paying" customers. Epic is still counting all those kids and bots that came for freebies )))
Posted on Reply
#3
HisDivineOrder
They're timing this announcement at a great time for their numbers. I wonder how many PC subscribers are dropping after they double the price.
Posted on Reply
#4
Vayra86
Short term, all these services look fantastic.

Long term, they will put pressure on the content industry and damages creativity and studio lifespans. Its a fast ticket to being bought up by the one running the service.

Not even with a 10 foot pole will I support this destructive junk. I wonder how long until the penny drops elsewhere.
Posted on Reply
#5
agatong55
HisDivineOrder
They're timing this announcement at a great time for their numbers. I wonder how many PC subscribers are dropping after they double the price.
I doubt many will, everyone knew the price change was coming and its still a great deal even at the 10 or 14 dollars a month its still a great deal for what you get and for what they are adding.
Posted on Reply
#6
londiste
agatong55
I doubt many will, everyone knew the price change was coming and its still a great deal even at the 10 or 14 dollars a month its still a great deal for what you get and for what they are adding.
It's not that rosy. Current low price invariably inflates numbers. Also, the $1 price has effects to a longer period as well - you could use this deal to upgrade up to 3 years of Xbox Live Gold to Game Pass Ultimate :)
Posted on Reply
#7
lZKoce
silentbogo
At least those are "paying" customers. Epic is still counting all those kids and bots that came for freebies )))
I've felt that :) Epic is the only platform I haven't bought a single game yet.
Posted on Reply
#8
silentbogo
lZKoce
I've felt that :) Epic is the only platform I haven't bought a single game yet.
I've only spent $5 on their winter sale just to try out Metro Exodus, and immediately regretted it (looks cool, but gameplay and story is garbage)...
Though, I haven't tried XB Game Pass yet. Looks appealing, with tons of titles that I like, just haven't had enough spare time (quarantine hit me backwards, with more work and less "fun").
Even at full $10/mo looks like a good deal. Basically it's Netflix for gamers.
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#9
jayseearr
only 14,999,999 subscribers now. just cancelled, thanks for the reminder :toast:
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#10
timta2
I tried the PC version for $1 and was underwhelmed. There were two games of slight interest available.
Posted on Reply
#11
INSTG8R
Vanguard Beta Tester
Vayra86
Short term, all these services look fantastic.

Long term, they will put pressure on the content industry and damages creativity and studio lifespans. Its a fast ticket to being bought up by the one running the service.

Not even with a 10 foot pole will I support this destructive junk. I wonder how long until the penny drops elsewhere.
Oh please “Mr EGS is good” :rolleyes:
Posted on Reply
#12
Vayra86
INSTG8R
Oh please “Mr EGS is good” :rolleyes:
This is exactly what EGS is doing well, yes. They're just a portal, not a service provider.

Goes for Steam et al too by the way.
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#13
INSTG8R
Vanguard Beta Tester
Vayra86
This is exactly what EGS is doing well, yes. They're just a portal, not a service provider.

Goes for Steam et al too by the way.
And XGP is the most reasonably priced sub service that provides an amazing selection of titles including just released titles for the price of a couple beers. Uplay and EA services are 3-4x the price with a pretty poor selection.
Posted on Reply
#14
silentbogo
Vayra86
They're just a portal, not a service provider.
And what's wrong with being a service provider? Or subscription gaming in general? This model worked for decades, if you remember those times when DVD and game rentals were a thing.
In US there were some big players, like Gamefly, Gamestop, and at some point even Netflix tried to dip its toes into game subscriptions (that's when they still had DVDs, and you needed a disk to stream netflix movies to your console).
I spent a couple of years state-side and excluding very few "must-have" games for consoles, that was the only way I played games and discovered new titles on PS3 and XB360.
The only two reasons PC is different, is:
1) Fierce competition and relatively low prices
2) False sense of ownership on most digital platforms.
Same with cloud gaming. I beat witcher 2 on OnLive, which is now a base for PSN Cloud gaming network (if my memory serves me right).
Posted on Reply
#15
Vayra86
silentbogo
And what's wrong with being a service provider? Or subscription gaming in general? This model worked for decades, if you remember those times when DVD and game rentals were a thing.
In US there were some big players, like Gamefly, Gamestop, and at some point even Netflix tried to dip its toes into game subscriptions (that's when they still had DVDs, and you needed a disk to stream netflix movies to your console).
I spent a couple of years state-side and excluding very few "must-have" games for consoles, that was the only way I played games and discovered new titles on PS3 and XB360.
The only two reasons PC is different, is:
1) Fierce competition and relatively low prices
2) False sense of ownership on most digital platforms.
Same with cloud gaming. I beat witcher 2 on OnLive, which is now a base for PSN Cloud gaming network (if my memory serves me right).
The problem today is the amount of consolidations. The power of the service provider is too big now, its becoming judge jury and executioner. That power comes at the cost of developers, independant publishers, but also customers. You're going to be played at some point, because the content provider controls what you can get, what it costs, and how long it remains available. And of course what you will get is that which commands the best profit margin. Not necessarily the best content as we all know.

You see this with Apple, MS, Google, most of all. They want to control the whole thing, its not just providing the service. Netflix isn't much different except that market still has some healthy division between content production and distribution, but their Netflix Originals (and the amount of money they pump into it) are another example of that same grasp for control. And not just in entertainment. It happens in fast food ordering, it happens in taxis (Uber), etc etc. And none of it really benefits us in the end. Its a race to the bottom for the userbase, and a race to profit for shareholders. At the expense of freedoms, rights, securities, and just the ability to run a normal business. When you are part of these services, whether as a user or a provider, you are living in an alternative economy where you no longer really know the rules - but you do know they're different from what's written in law for normal customers and businesses. ''Subject to change'...

Its bigger than you might think and we're already knee deep into this shit. Time to wake up
Posted on Reply
#16
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
Vayra86
The problem today is the amount of consolidations. The power of the service provider is too big now, its becoming judge jury and executioner. That power comes at the cost of developers, independant publishers, but also customers. You're going to be played at some point, because the content provider controls what you can get, what it costs, and how long it remains available. And of course what you will get is that which commands the best profit margin. Not necessarily the best content as we all know.

You see this with Apple, MS, Google, most of all. They want to control the whole thing, its not just providing the service. Netflix isn't much different except that market still has some healthy division between content production and distribution, but their Netflix Originals (and the amount of money they pump into it) are another example of that same grasp for control. And not just in entertainment. It happens in fast food ordering, it happens in taxis (Uber), etc etc. And none of it really benefits us in the end. Its a race to the bottom for the userbase, and a race to profit for shareholders. At the expense of freedoms, rights, securities, and just the ability to run a normal business. When you are part of these services, whether as a user or a provider, you are living in an alternative economy where you no longer really know the rules - but you do know they're different from what's written in law for normal customers and businesses. ''Subject to change'...

Its bigger than you might think and we're already knee deep into this shit. Time to wake up
To add to this more simply, those that approve of games as a service will face the day that a game they like, or want to play or want to play again will no longer be available, because said provider says so. You see it with Netflix all the time.
Posted on Reply
#17
silentbogo
But that's the beauty of subscription - you can always cancel it. For example, if you don't like Apple - ditch the platform, if you don't like google - ditch playstore w/ google services and use sideloaded apps (or write your own), if you don't like MS and their telemetry - switch to Linux, if Ubuntu is too invasive for your liking - there are other more private and open distros. This is an age-old dilemma of control versus convenience. People in general are lazy and cheap. Convenience always wins. At the end of the day, if you truly want to be independent of service providers and live without mega-corporations dictating what you like and what you should do - you'll probably end up like one of those Stallman evangelists, living in a cabin somewhere in the woods, running FreeBSD on your decade-old Thinkpad X200 with coreboot, and doing all of your socializing on your old Nokia E90 or maybe even whatever BBS is still left in the world.

Microsoft just wants to be first[success] on this trend's revival. I'm sure if it picks up, Steam and EGS will follow in a heartbeat.
Posted on Reply
#18
Vayra86
silentbogo
But that's the beauty of subscription - you can always cancel it. For example, if you don't like Apple - ditch the platform, if you don't like google - ditch playstore w/ google services and use sideloaded apps (or write your own), if you don't like MS and their telemetry - switch to Linux, if Ubuntu is too invasive for your liking - there are other more private and open distros. This is an age-old dilemma of control versus convenience. People in general are lazy and cheap. Convenience always wins. At the end of the day, if you truly want to be independent of service providers and live without mega-corporations dictating what you like and what you should do - you'll probably end up like one of those Stallman evangelists, living in a cabin somewhere in the woods, running FreeBSD on your decade-old Thinkpad X200 with coreboot, and doing all of your socializing on your old Nokia E90 or maybe even whatever BBS is still left in the world.

Microsoft just wants to be first[success] on this trend's revival. I'm sure if it picks up, Steam and EGS will follow in a heartbeat.
Time will tell, but in the EU the resistance against mega corp is mounting. Its not just me thinking this.

Note these are all US companies.

And yes you can cancel it, but how does that help the content industry? Devs and studios pay that bill.
Posted on Reply
#19
Franzen4Real
Vayra86
And yes you can cancel it, but how does that help the content industry? Devs and studios pay that bill.
For me it was actually the devs and studios that pushed me to the subscription model, long before the sub model was even a thing. Prior to online gaming, games would regularly be 30, 40, 50+ hours of content. Once online multiplayer became a thing, single player experiences got increasingly shorter and if you wanted full "value" then you were forced into playing a handful of maps ad nauseum (AND a required online connection to do so of course). Studios started churning out sequels year after year that basically amounted to a DLC worth of content at best, for yet another $60. My opinion on this is, if they are going to continuously provide less content, then I'm going to pay accordingly as well.

I am with you completely on games such as SkyRim, Witcher, upcoming Cyberpunk, etc. I would never choose a sub model for those types of games and feel that they are fully deserving of the asking price. But we still have the same situation, where if I choose to purchase my game through EGS, Steam, etc and any one of them for some reason disappear, I am still out of my game all the same. There is only one solution really, and that is a physical copy of the software with zero keycode activation required. But we are looong past those days and they aren't coming back ever.
Posted on Reply
#20
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
Franzen4Real
single player experiences got increasingly shorter
Depends on the game. I play plenty of games that give me 30-40-50 hours easy in SP.
Franzen4Real
But we still have the same situation, where if I choose to purchase my game through EGS, Steam, etc and any one of them for some reason disappear, I am still out of my game all the same.
Except that has yet to happen. None of the providers has taken a game from you that is in your library. It may not be available for sale anymore but every time this has happened to me the game is still available for download again.

With games as a service, as soon as said service provider feels they don’t make enough money off a title it is gone. By supporting such a system, it supports future lack of choice for everyone. Have you never decided you wanted to play a game 4 or more years after you first played it? Good luck with that in a GAS model.
Posted on Reply
#21
Vayra86
Franzen4Real
For me it was actually the devs and studios that pushed me to the subscription model, long before the sub model was even a thing. Prior to online gaming, games would regularly be 30, 40, 50+ hours of content. Once online multiplayer became a thing, single player experiences got increasingly shorter and if you wanted full "value" then you were forced into playing a handful of maps ad nauseum (AND a required online connection to do so of course). Studios started churning out sequels year after year that basically amounted to a DLC worth of content at best, for yet another $60. My opinion on this is, if they are going to continuously provide less content, then I'm going to pay accordingly as well.

I am with you completely on games such as SkyRim, Witcher, upcoming Cyberpunk, etc. I would never choose a sub model for those types of games and feel that they are fully deserving of the asking price. But we still have the same situation, where if I choose to purchase my game through EGS, Steam, etc and any one of them for some reason disappear, I am still out of my game all the same. There is only one solution really, and that is a physical copy of the software with zero keycode activation required. But we are looong past those days and they aren't coming back ever.
rtwjunkie also poiinted it out, but really you will change heart when the shit does hit the fan.

For subscription based services (on demand entertainment0 we already know that content is temporary. So you are guaranteed to:
A: drag a % of your salary to content providers every month
B: only get temporary satisfaction off it
C: know that there is no investment whatsoever because its gone the minute you transfer the money. Subject to change. You're literally subjected to it. The service decides for you what you play

For normal distribution outlets that offer you a real copy;
A; you pay a fixed price for the product and no recurring fee
B: you own it, legally you have a license that you own and promises game access and updates
C: the game can't leave the service without a legal course of action and you have every opportunity to keep it there by exercising consumer rights - or get a refund as what you paid for is no longer being offered as per the agreement you made on purchase.

These differences exist and are undeniable. Thinking they don't is just pulling wool over your eyes and nothing else. Its just a matter of time before the on-demand service will make a move you won't like. And then another... and another. And when you do feel 'forced' to leave it ("I can cancel anytime hahaha! " yeah... who's really laughing here?!) all the money that went into your 'access' is just quite simply gone. No save games, no nothing. Buy the game later and you'll start right over from scratch as if all you've ever done with games has been sucked into a black hole. Its just gone.

This immediately kills several business models within games... but it also kills certain aspects of games that make them what they are. The most important one: Persistence. Your progression is marked with all sorts of things and if you own the content, those things are saved locally. its a huge thing, as it makes or breaks the way certain games play. By having that offsite, games are also forced to implement a cloud save as standard and this in turn forces online where it would never be required.

A game such as Grim Dawn? Simply impossible to make when run through cloud services. Offline save scumming and edits? Good luck with that. Modding and having your perfect setup? Okay... interesting, and again... good luck running that consistently over cloud services.

So yeah... not a million years, I literally do not even want it for free. To each his own....
Posted on Reply
#22
Franzen4Real
rtwjunkie
Except that has yet to happen. None of the providers has taken a game from you that is in your library. It may not be available for sale anymore but every time this has happened to me the game is still available for download again.

With games as a service, as soon as said service provider feels they don’t make enough money off a title it is gone. By supporting such a system, it supports future lack of choice for everyone. Have you never decided you wanted to play a game 4 or more years after you first played it? Good luck with that in a GAS model.
Vayra86
rtwjunkie also poiinted it out, but really you will change heart when the shit does hit the fan.

For subscription based services (on demand entertainment0 we already know that content is temporary. So you are guaranteed to:
A: drag a % of your salary to content providers every month
B: only get temporary satisfaction off it
C: know that there is no investment whatsoever because its gone the minute you transfer the money. Subject to change. You're literally subjected to it. The service decides for you what you play

For normal distribution outlets that offer you a real copy;
A; you pay a fixed price for the product and no recurring fee
B: you own it, legally you have a license that you own and promises game access and updates
C: the game can't leave the service without a legal course of action and you have every opportunity to keep it there by exercising consumer rights - or get a refund as what you paid for is no longer being offered as per the agreement you made on purchase.

These differences exist and are undeniable. Thinking they don't is just pulling wool over your eyes and nothing else. Its just a matter of time before the on-demand service will make a move you won't like. And then another... and another. And when you do feel 'forced' to leave it ("I can cancel anytime hahaha! " yeah... who's really laughing here?!) all the money that went into your 'access' is just quite simply gone. No save games, no nothing. Buy the game later and you'll start right over from scratch as if all you've ever done with games has been sucked into a black hole. Its just gone.

This immediately kills several business models within games... but it also kills certain aspects of games that make them what they are. The most important one: Persistence. Your progression is marked with all sorts of things and if you own the content, those things are saved locally. its a huge thing, as it makes or breaks the way certain games play. By having that offsite, games are also forced to implement a cloud save as standard and this in turn forces online where it would never be required.

A game such as Grim Dawn? Simply impossible to make when run through cloud services. Offline save scumming and edits? Good luck with that. Modding and having your perfect setup? Okay... interesting, and again... good luck running that consistently over cloud services.

So yeah... not a million years, I literally do not even want it for free. To each his own....
Many many good points. Gave me a whole lot to think about, more so than what is fitting to go into in this comment section. The heaviest I feel being the "subject to change" argument. There is really no flip side to that that I can think of. It really is the mofo of the entire service. Any form of media (not just games) that I am truly interested in or passionate about, I want the physical packaged versions (though I eventually conceded to digital store fronts), and I want to own that material. All of the reasons that you mentioned above for certain types of games not working with the sub model are good and valid, and they would not be the kind of games that I would sub to play either, I would just buy them. But looking back at a year and a half of on again/off again with Access, those games served a purpose of just wanting to have something different to play here and there for affordable entertainment. Similar to spending $5 on a matinee ticket to see a new movie, or $5 to play a new game for a month, I had no expectation of ownership to begin with. In the event that I do come across a game that I really end up liking, they give a 10% discount on the purchase which basically covers the sub fee and then I own the license for it.

So I guess ultimately for me, neither one of the options alone fit my use case perfectly. I feel having both forms available to be a very good value based on my personal media consumption habits.
Posted on Reply
#23
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
Franzen4Real
So I guess ultimately for me, neither one of the options alone fit my use case perfectly. I feel having both forms available to be a very good value based on my personal media consumption habits.
It sounds as if you have given it a fair level of thought. At the end of the day, you have to do what is right for you and your personal use. :)
Posted on Reply
#24
Vayra86
Franzen4Real
Many many good points. Gave me a whole lot to think about, more so than what is fitting to go into in this comment section. The heaviest I feel being the "subject to change" argument. There is really no flip side to that that I can think of. It really is the mofo of the entire service. Any form of media (not just games) that I am truly interested in or passionate about, I want the physical packaged versions (though I eventually conceded to digital store fronts), and I want to own that material. All of the reasons that you mentioned above for certain types of games not working with the sub model are good and valid, and they would not be the kind of games that I would sub to play either, I would just buy them. But looking back at a year and a half of on again/off again with Access, those games served a purpose of just wanting to have something different to play here and there for affordable entertainment. Similar to spending $5 on a matinee ticket to see a new movie, or $5 to play a new game for a month, I had no expectation of ownership to begin with. In the event that I do come across a game that I really end up liking, they give a 10% discount on the purchase which basically covers the sub fee and then I own the license for it.

So I guess ultimately for me, neither one of the options alone fit my use case perfectly. I feel having both forms available to be a very good value based on my personal media consumption habits.
And you make a very good point too... doesn't have to be a world of absolutes either, indeed.
Posted on Reply
#25
silentbogo
Vayra86
B: you own it, legally you have a license that you own and promises game access and updates
That's not really correct. For example, on Steam they still refer to it as "Subscription" with all underlying caveats. On EGS they call it a license, but just few paragraphs later they shield themselves essentially from any responsibility with several pages of legal blabber. To be more dramatic, if EGS decides to remove all your games from their storefront and all user libraries - they bear no legal responsibility because you've already signed off your right to sue Epic. And if you want to exercise your local consumer rights as a buyer, you may also be in trouble cause "All rights granted to you under this Agreement are granted by express license only and not by sale."
The only exception is GOG, which treats "purchases" as actual "purchases" with all legal obligations, but if for some reason it stops existing - you better hope you got your digital downloads backed up offline. Neither service is perfect, and neither guarantees that you will be able to play your games at any point in time in the future.
Physical copies are cool and all, but let's remember that for the past 10+ years most of those still ship with some sort of online DRM (...khm...thanks Blizzard and Valve for setting the trend...) and are no different than buying it from any digital distribution platform.
Franzen4Real
So I guess ultimately for me, neither one of the options alone fit my use case perfectly. I feel having both forms available to be a very good value based on my personal media consumption habits.
Exactly that.
There's also a more drastic way of looking at it, which should be more to liking to people over 35: think of it as old gaming magazines. Most of us bought those not just for content, but for game reviews and demo disks. Since demos are the thing of the past and become as rare as whales, playing $10/mo for access to full versions of many more games is sorta crazy comparing to spending the same amount on few shitty articles, few biased/paid reviews and few short demos every month. It's a matter of perspective.
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