Xbox Game Pass was originally a game rental service
Long before it became one of the best gaming deals it is today, the whole structure of Xbox Game Pass was all about rental. According to a report from GQ, Game Pass had been in the works at Xbox since 2013 and its first iteration was essentially an Xbox exclusive version of Gamefly.
Game Pass’s time as a rental service didn’t last too long, however, thanks to the rapid growth of two subscription-based services, Spotify and Netflix. Xbox Game Pass then became a subscription service, although, as Sarah Bond, Xbox Game Ecosystem Manager, recalls, selling the idea to game publishers was not easy. âThey were like, ‘No way, [Game Pass] will devalue the games. ‘”
Although it was not proven at the time, the myth that Game Pass would impact a game’s sales was rife until recently. A number of game versions on Game Pass, including Descenders and The Ascent, have shown that despite releasing via the subscription platform, a game can still sell incredibly well or even see an increase in sales after launch. .
Game Pass was tested with its first Xbox Game Studios title to launch through the service, Sea Of Thieves. Ahead of the game’s launch, Rare Studio Director Craig Duncan asked Xbox Director Phil Spencer if he would be happy with the game’s poor sales. “If everyone is playing Sea Of Thieves on Game Pass and we don’t sell a single copy. Are you pretty cool with this? ” to which Spencer simply said, “Absolutely.”
Since its launch, Sea Of Thieves has grown into a massive game with an even bigger player community. Last October, the game passed the 25 million player mark.