Game Pass subscribers spend 50% more on games than non-subscribers

The Xbox Series X/S continues to be Microsoft’s fastest-selling console ever, but what’s most interesting is how Game Pass is evolving.

Microsoft has announced its fourth quarter earnings results, revealing continued strong sales of the Xbox Series X/S and some interesting facts about Game Pass subscribers.

‘We’re all in on games. The Xbox Series S and X are our fastest selling consoles ever, with more consoles sold life-to-date than any previous generation’, said CEO Satya Nadella.

Not only is that not a new claim, it’s also not quite the achievement it sounds like, as Microsoft’s only widely successful console was the Xbox 360 – whose launch was almost 16 years ago.

What is far more notable about Microsoft’s financial report is the revelation that Game Pass subscribers play around 40% more games than non-subscribers and spend 50% more money – presumably on a mix of DLC, full-price games, and the subscriptions themselves.

Only three months ago Microsoft claimed that those figures were 20% and 30%, respectively, which means either an inconsistency in reporting the results or Game Pass has seen a major change in usage over the last few months – perhaps as a result of changing pandemic restrictions in many countries.

Many have questioned the sustainability of Game Pass, with former US PlayStation boss Shawn Layden commenting on the service just yesterday, but if the 50% figure is correct it implies that obtaining profitability will not be as difficult as some suggest.

The Xbox financial results do paint a confusing picture though, as growth in content and services, the second of the report that includes Game Pass, actually fell 4% over the last three months.

This though was offset by hardware sales rising by 172%, ensuring that gaming revenue as a whole was up 11% on the same time last year – before the launch of the Xbox Series X/S.

Although they’re still not readily available, stock of the Xbox Series X and S (and PlayStation 5) has begun to appear more frequently in recent months. However, it’ll only be once all the consoles are easily available that any real comparison can be made between Microsoft and Sony’s hardware.

However, since Sony has no direct equivalent to Game Pass, or xCloud, Microsoft’s entire business plan is so different to Sony’s that comparing the two may never make sense.

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