Xbox's Aaron Greenberg: Hi-Fi Rush was a 'break out hit' despite weak sales rumors

Amid rumors that Hi-Fi Rush was a disappointment for Xbox, leadership has spoken out.

Xbox Game Studios

Hi-Fi Rush was one of the pleasant surprises of the early 2023 release window, as Xbox shadow-dropped the Tango Gameworks-developed game immediately after its reveal. The game received critical acclaim and provided something unlike anything the studio had done before. While Hi-Fi Rush seemed like a surefire hit from the outside looking in, new rumors have stated that the game was a financial disappointment. In response, Xbox leadership has reaffirmed that they’ve been happy with Hi-Fi Rush’s performance.

This all stems from a statement made by industry insider Jeff Grubb on an episode of his Game Mess Decides podcast. "It just straight up didn't make the money it needed to make,” he said of the rhythm-based action game. “It got good reviews, the buzz was good, so where do you put the blame for something like that? Is it the price? Was it the shadow drop? Could it have sold more? Or is it Game Pass?"

Key art of Hi-Fi Rush's protagonists Chai and 808.

Source: Xbox Game Studios

Grubb provided additional context in a tweet, stating that “needed” was the wrong word to use, and that he doesn’t entirely know how Microsoft measures success.

The quote was quickly taken and shared on Twitter, stirring up a discussion about Hi-Fi Rush and the bigger picture of Xbox’s business model. It was enough to catch the attention of Aaron Greenberg, vice president of Xbox Games Marketing at Microsoft, who clarified the company’s stance on Hi-Fi Rush’s performance.

Hi-Fi Rush launched in January immediately after its reveal during a developer showcase. As with all first-party Microsoft games, it was available on Xbox Game Pass for all subscribers. There have been conversations in the past about how this model impacts game sales, but it looks like Microsoft is perfectly fine with how Hi-Fi Rush is doing.

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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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