Xbox’s Game Pass program is not without its share of controversy.
Sure, it’s a fantastic deal for gamers on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, even touted as “the best value in gaming.” Few on the player side of the equation can argue with that.
But what about the developers and publishers of the titles which help populate Game Pass’s listings?
Well, SEGA seems pretty happy about how it’s going for them, all things considered. In a Eurogamer article asking if the service is, in fact, “too good to be true,” SEGA Europe’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Publishing, Anna Downing, stated:
We’re really happy with the results and we hope [Microsoft] are too. Ultimately, they wanted quality titles, we wanted to take advantage of a great new opportunity.
SEGA and Xbox have been quite chummy as of late, not only with the long-awaited western release of Phantasy Star Online 2 debuting exclusively on the latter’s platforms for a limited time, but also with several of the former’s titles appearing on the Netflix-like service. These have ranged from backwards compatible classics such as Sonic & Knuckles to previously PlayStation and PC-exclusives like the Yakuza series. This arrangement has also proven beneficial for some of those titles which might land somewhere in the middle, or even off to the side.
Speaking of last year’s launch of Two Point Hospital on Game Pass, Downing stated that it:
…helped propel the franchise to over 3 million players worldwide. That’s a huge benefit of being on Game Pass, it strengthens the exposure you get to a huge first-party audience… That surge in engagement in turn helps to further establish your product in the marketplace. It’s great for us and it’s great for consumers who get to experience something they may not have engaged with outside of the Game Pass model.
Regarding the types of games which seem to benefit the most from being on Game Pass, there seemed to be a leaning towards multiplayer and title which keep fresh content coming in over their lifespan. Per Downing:
Our strategy over the last nine or 10 years has been to deliver games that are supported with content for the duration of their lifespans,” she explained, regardless of whether they’re necessarily multiplayer-focused or properly endless, like Football Manager. “If you look at the Total War games as an example, Creative Assembly has a plan for each of those games that will see free and premium content released over a period of years.
Can that model work within a subscription service? Absolutely. Would we specifically develop games with a subscription service in mind? Potentially. It really depends on how the offerings evolve over the next few years and what consumer demand and expectation is.
So far, it seems that Xbox Game Pass is a winner for all involved (or at least most, since there’s undoubtedly some exception). In our specific case, if Xbox is happy and SEGA is happy, then who are we to argue?
Source: Eurogamer, via Wccftech.com