Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription service has become one of the company's most exciting gaming initiatives in recent years. The service recently crossed 15 million subscribers, and the $14.99 Ultimate tier continues to offer great value by including Xbox Game Pass for PC, Xbox Live Gold, plus access to select Game Pass games on Android via Cloud Gaming.
Starting November 10, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members will also get access to all games in the EA Play catalog, which will remain available separately for $4.99/month. Microsoft also recently announced the acquisition of ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion, which will bring many criticially-acclaimed franchises to the Game Pass catalog.
Microsoft is definitely investing a lot in Xbox Game Pass, and the company also announced that many high-profile upcoming games such as The Medium or Scorn will be available on Game Pass on day one. Can the company continue this aggressive strategy without ultimately raising prices, something Netflix has done a couple of times in the past? Speaking on the Dropped Frames podcast (via Video Games Chronicle), Xbox head Phil Spencer made it clear that the current business model for Xbox Game Pass worked well and wouldn't change:
“I’ll be honest, there are developers that have some concerns, and my inbox is there, and I have conversations with a lot of those developers asking what are our real long-term goals? You know we get questions about ’hey, is this just some kind of go secure a bunch of players and then rack the price up to a new level?’ I say there’s no plan for us to do anything like that. We like the value that Game Pass is today and from a business model it’s completely sustainable the way it is and I mean that.”
The head of Xbox also emphasized that "our motivation is not to turn everybody into a subscriber – we think it’s an option for people.” Xbox Game Pass should continue to provide great value to subscribers, but it’s also an interesting proposition for game developers interested in creating games tailored for subscription services. That's typically service games that will keep players engaged for many years, something Microsoft itself has been experimenting with games like Sea of Thieves. "It allows us to take more creative risks and I think the portfolio shows that, but we have to prove that over time as well,” Spencer said.