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Game Pass is Profitable – So What Now?

If there has been one sign that the console wars have grown up, it’s this. We no longer argue about lists of games. Instead, we argue over corporate decisions. Nowhere has that been more obvious than in the conversation about Game Pass’s profitability.


Game Pass wasn’t sustainable. Then it wasn’t good for the industry. Then it was both, but it wasn’t profitable. Now, thanks to a new interview with Xbox’s Phil Spencer, we know that it is profitable.

Which is interesting. We’re all enthusiasts. We can appreciate a good bit of information, even if it doesn’t pertain directly to the games themselves.

But ultimately, it should be nothing more than information. A “huh” moment, in an industry that so rarely provides them.

Unfortunately, it is so much more.

The Downfalls of Game Pass

Whenever something new happens in an established area, there is going to be pushback. When you add in teams, it becomes more so.

Game Pass was never going to be accepted with open arms. But it’s not enough to say that a service is bad. This is the internet. You have to have arguments that seem like they make sense on a superficial level, else your followers won’t share.

Hense conversations about whether it is sustainable, whether it is taking food from developer’s mouths. And yes, whether it was profitable.

None of these matter. What matters about Game Pass is whether or not it offers you what you want at a price you find agreeable. Leave the business decisions for those involved in them.

Knowing that Game Pass is profitable is meaningless to me. I mean, I’m glad it’s doing well – especially on PC, Spencer says – because it means I will continue to benefit from it. But this is Microsoft. Short of it turning Xbox as a whole unprofitable, it was never going to go out with a whimper.

Unlike Xbox Live Gold, by the way. Whimper away, right there. Different article for a different day.

The Importance Of Letting Go

Naturally, when the information about Game Pass’s profitability came out, the gaming community discussed it sensibly.

No, my Twitter blew up with notifications showing me people gloating, people arguing the definition of profitable… It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

And Game Pass is just one example. This isn’t a corporate decision that effects people in any real way. It isn’t a price increase or a policy that impacts on players. It was profitable before it was announced, we just didn’t know it.

What does this mean for Game Pass? What does it mean for the future of video games? Does this change the way we view Xbox or Microsoft, or the gaming industry as a whole?

The answer is a resounding no. Those that hate the brand will find some new mast to tie themselves to. Everything else will continue as normal.

I’m much more looking forward to the next era of the console wars, whatever that might be. The days of 15-year-olds (mentally or physically – your choice) pretending they have a business degree to big up their favourite toy and knock the competitor is getting very old.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott