Microsoft confirms that Xbox Game Pass hurts game sales

Internal analysis shows a sales decrease after games come to Xbox Game Pass.


While Xbox Game Pass is often touted as an excellent subscription service for gamers on Xbox and PC, it’s not without its drawbacks. Although it means easier access to games for players at a lower price, it also means that less players are buying games to own. It’s something that Microsoft has now officially acknowledged, revealing data that confirms game sales decrease after they are added to Xbox Game Pass.

As a result of the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it was revealed that Microsoft has data that shows the negative impact that Xbox Game Pass has on game sales. "Microsoft also submitted that its internal analysis shows a [redacted]% decline in base game sales twelve months following their addition on Game Pass.”

The Xbox logo above the clouds.

Source: Microsoft

After the information got out, a Microsoft spokesperson provided a quote to Eurogamer, clarifying the situation. "Xbox Game Pass offers gamers and game creators more choice and opportunity in how they discover, experience, and deliver games," the spokesperson told the outlet. "For gamers, that means providing another option for them to discover games and play with friends at a great value. For developers, that means creating another option for how they monetise their games.”

The quote seemingly implies that developers can make additional money on their games from in-game purchases. In 2018, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that being on Game Pass can actually improve a game’s sales.

Microsoft did not deny the information found in the CMA’s report. While it’s been speculated for years now that players are less likely to buy a game outright when it’s available on Xbox Game Pass, it’s pretty significant to get confirmation on Microsoft’s behalf. As we await the eventual resolution of Microsoft’s attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard, count on Shacknews for any necessary updates.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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