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Microsoft says Xbox Game Pass has 10 million subscribers

Microsoft said in an investor call on Wednesday that 10 million users have subscribed to its Xbox Game Pass service, a paid service that lets gamers access over 100 games for £7.99/$9.99 per month. It launched in June 2017.

While Game Pass doesn’t always hold the very latest AAA games, current titles on the service include Gears Tactics, Overcooked 2, Forza Horizon 4 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Blockbuster title Red Dead Redemption 2 is being added to the list on 7 May.

Gamers can stream titles via Game Pass rather than fully download them, and accept that certain games are only available for limited times. That said, the stints are reasonably long enough to complete and enjoy titles – a compromise 10 million people clearly don’t mind.

This is largely down to the price and quality of games on the service. Sony’s PS Now is similar to Game Pass and offers more games, but at last count had just over one million subscribers. Sony’s separate PS Plus service seems to get the ‘better’ games.

Whatever the case, Sony has done something wrong considering recent stats show there are 106.9 million PS4s sold compared to 46.4 million Xbox One consoles. 

Xbox chief Phil Spencer said on the call that “Game Pass members are also playing twice as much and engaging in more multiplayer gaming, which has increased by 130 percent.”

Microsoft knows what it is doing when it comes to services. It has managed to successfully place itself as a primarily service and software company after it realised it couldn’t win the first-party hardware battle for PC or Windows Phone. Leasing Windows to other PC manufacturers was the main reason Microsoft was so successful, and now its pivot to pushing core software services has paid off.

The Xbox One and Surface line of computers are the only hardware the company now makes. Sony’s business is entirely hardware focused, perhaps shining a light on why the Xbox Game Pass is such a good product compared to Sony’s.

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