Xbox Head Credits Game Pass Service for Increased Engagement

Phil Spencer_Headshot_color- Microsoft Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Microsoft

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox

Phil Spencer, in a blog post on Thursday morning, said that subscribers to the service "play 40 percent more games" after joining.

Microsoft is touting a new milestone for its Xbox Game Pass service.

The subscription offering, which launched in 2017 and grants gamers access to more than 100 Xbox titles for a monthly rate, has surpassed 10 million members, the company revealed Wednesday during its quarterly earnings call.

In a blog post on Thursday morning, Xbox head Phil Spencer shared additional data about Game Pass amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, showing that usage and engagement have both been up since lockdowns first went into effect. 

"Since March, Xbox Game Pass members have added over 23 million friends on Xbox Live, which is a 70 percent growth in friendship rate. Game Pass members are also playing twice as much and engaging in more multiplayer gaming, which has increased by 130," said the exec.

Spencer credits Game Pass with helping players branch out and discover new titles on the Xbox platform. "After joining Game Pass people play 40 percent more games and more than 90 percent of members have played a game they wouldn’t have tried without Game Pass," he said. "This speaks to our passion at Xbox for sharing and celebrating the games that we love and for showcasing works, from blockbusters to indie developers with unique points of view."

Game Pass has been one of the major successes of Xbox's current console generation, despite the lagging sales of the Xbox One system in comparison to its competitors, Sony's PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's Switch.

With the dawn of subscription gaming services over recent years, Game Pass has been credited for its wide selection of premium games, ease of use and affordable price point ($9.99 per month). As Microsoft gears up for the launch of its upcoming console, the Xbox Series X, this holiday season, the company has stated that the Game Pass service will continue to be available for the next generation. Xbox will also launch its game streaming service, Project xCloud, later this year, which will also utilize Game Pass subscriptions.

"I’ve always believed gaming has a unique power to bring us together, and I’m proud of how our art form is introducing this unique power to more people during a time of need," Spencer wrote in his blog post. "I have no doubt that we’ll come through this experience stronger than ever."