Xbox boss Phil Spencer has claimed that Xbox Game Pass is already “sustainable” in its current state, and will only grow larger.
Speaking to Axios’s Stephen Totilo, Spencer was asked what his response was to people who say that Game Pass isn’t sustainable because it means players are getting games like Starfield as part of a subscription instead of paying $60 for them.
“I mean, you could do the math on Game Pass,” Spencer replied. “I guess you don’t know how many subscribers [we have] or how much each subscriber is paying, but you can make some fairly informed decisions and literally just do the math on what we think Game Pass could eventually be – you can do that on aby part of the business.
“But absolutely, Game Pass is sustainable.”
Spencer added that the growth of Game Pass is part of Xbox’s strategy, but it’s not the company’s sole focus.
“It’s not the only thing that’s growing in Xbox,” he explained. “It’s not the only focus of the organisation, and it, as a standalone thing, is very sustainable as it sits today. It’s sustainable.
“I know there are a lot of people that like to write [that] we’re burning cash right now for some future pot of gold at the end. No. Game Pass is very, very sustainable right now as it sits and it continues to grow.”
Xbox Game Pass launched in June 2017 and has become central to Microsoft’s gaming business, attracting over 18 million subscribers as of January 2021, according to the latest publicly announced figure.
The service offers members access to over 100 titles, including all first-party games at launch, for $10 / £8 per month on console or PC. For $15 / £11, users can access the games on console, PC and mobile devices, including via Xbox Cloud Gaming.
During Microsoft’s fourth quarter earnings call in July, CEO Satya Nadella claimed Xbox Games Pass was “growing rapidly”, with subscribers playing approximately 40% more games and spending 50% more than non-members.
However, despite its continued growth, Xbox Game Pass attracted fewer new subscribers last year than Microsoft had targeted.
According to a financial document filed by Microsoft in October and spotted by Axios, the number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers grew by 37.48% during the 12 months ended on June 30, but the company had targeted an increase of 47.79%.