In an unexpected move to further position the Xbox Game Pass service as a solid option for gamers, Microsoft recently announced that all future in-house first party Microsoft Studios titles would head to the Game Pass catalog on launch day. Noted by gamesindustry.biz, this apparently has upset a few independent game stores, which say that this change outright kills their game sale business.
The Austrian retailer Gameware, and UK retailers Extreme Gamez and Sholing Video are just a few of the independent game stores which have an issue with Xbox Game Pass. In fact, Gameware has such a big issue that it made plans to no longer stock Xbox products just because Xbox Game Pass makes "repeat business with customers minimal."
UK retailer Extreme Gamez also holds a similar stand, and will also no longer plan to stock Xbox products. "It's made [our Xbox business] worthless overnight... why would people buy a £12 to £15 second-hand game when they can just pay a tenner and get a massive catalog of titles to keep them going?" said Extreme Gamez's Stuart Benson in the original report.
Paul Lemesurier from Sholing Video, another independent game store, also argues against Game Pass. For him, Microsoft including titles such as Sea of Thieves in Game Pass impacts the sales of first-party titles:
"We have already told Exertis we will not be stocking Sea of Thieves at all. Why bother when supermarkets will throw it out less then cost, online e-tailers will break street dates - which are a joke - and ship up to five days before release cheaper than us, and now Microsoft is throwing it on Game Pass for a tenner."
Perhaps the strongest statement of them all comes from Nick Elliott from Barkman Computer in the UK, another retailer with plans to no longer stock Xbox products or even third-party titles. He points to Xbox Game Pass putting a dent in physical games sales, and the chances of consumers returning to a store to buy games for Xbox. For Elliott, there is little reason to support Xbox because of this:
"Without that possibility, there is little benefit in allocating our resources to a dead-end-sale... We will only support manufacturers and publishers who support us. If a customer comes into a retail store, and the retailer has a choice between selling an Xbox where they would never sell them anything again or a PS4 where they had a chance of some attach rate, they would surely sell them a PlayStation."
Again, these are independent retailers which are upset and making the decision to no longer stock Xbox products due to Xbox Game Pass. It also should be kept in mind that titles in Xbox Game Pass are constantly rotating, and the library still lacks hit titles like Forza and Minecraft. With that so, and with Microsoft learning lessons made from the mistakes made during the original Xbox One release, you can expect people to still buy physical games no matter what.