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Microsoft revealed to make hundreds of millions every month from Game Pass

The Game Pass' revenue model has been criticized for being ineffective but it it appears to play a role in Microsoft's evenue stream.

We're expecting the Game Pass numbers to have increased by several millions from April 2022 to now.

Microsoft is a major player in the gaming industry, known for the Xbox and online services like the now-defunct Xbox Live Gold. However, in recent years, the company's Game Pass subscription service has become a revenue generator. Data from the FTC v Microsoft federal case confirms some of the details about this revenue.

As per the released information, Xbox Game Pass on console made $2.9 billion in revenue in 2021. In the month of April 2022 alone, it reportedly generated around $231.5 million in revenue. This calculation is based on the subscription price of the Game Pass costing an average of $9.26 per user, which aligns closely with the original subscription cost of $9.99/month.

With approximately 25 million subscribers by January 2022, this indicates significant revenue for Xbox Game Studios - Microsoft's gaming division.

We can criticize the Game Pass all we want but, at the end of the day, it seems to be working fine for Microsoft.

The newly revealed numbers give us insight into the demographics of the subscribers. A meaty chunk of the Game Pass subscribers are on the Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X with 21.9 million of the 33.6 million console subscribers as of April 2022 using Game Pass. PC subscribers accounted for around 3.1 million of the total Game Pass users. This distribution is further supported by the fact that the majority of Xbox Game Pass subscribers are paying the full price for their subscriptions.

The changing dynamics of the Xbox ecosystem was also highlighted in the disclosed documents. The Xbox Live Gold service is being phased out, spelling trouble to its 11.7 million subscribers. Microsoft plans to shift these subscribers to a new Game Pass tier, however, which could potentially bring the total number of the service's users closer to 40 million if not even 50 million.

Keep in mind that plenty has gone right for Microsoft in the time that has passed since. While Redfall was a huge miss, Microsoft has enjoyed several must-play games since, including first-party titles like Hi-Fi Rush, Ghostwire: Tokyo, and Starfield, to other must-player games that were available on the Game Pass at launch like Exoprimal.

A huge indicator that the Game Pass model works for Microsoft is the fact that it still exists.

From an investor perspective, growth is often a more significant metric than profit. Microsoft's continuous push and its expansion of the Game Pass service highlight their focus on growth, even if it might operate at a loss. The rationale is that the rising market value of a service like Game Pass can outweigh the operational losses. Thus, by converting cash flow into asset value, Microsoft is increasing its asset worth even if the immediate cash flow is negative.

However, while Game Pass currently offers undeniable value to subscribers, concerns about its long-term impact on the industry are emerging. The shift from owning physical copies of games to digital-only access has already begun. Game Pass, while currently beneficial, could lead to future scenarios where access to games becomes more restricted and, in worse cases, monopolized, potentially resulting in increased subscription costs, mirroring trends seen in other digital subscription models like Netflix.

While Microsoft's commitment to inclusivity and affordability in gaming is commendable, the industry's future under a dominant subscription model remains uncertain. The potential for increased prices and reduced game availability could pose challenges. As seen with Netflix's price hike after establishing its market dominance, Game Pass could potentially follow a similar trajectory.

Companies like Microsoft are quick to axe endeavors that are no longer making them profit.

With the new Xbox Series S/X models and the next Xbox console all part of this massive plan, it's clear that Microsoft is still getting started with the Game Pass.

Ultimately, the Game Pass' growth and market dominance are undeniable, but its future implications for the video game industry is a cause for concern. As the digital transition continues, the balance between consumer benefits and corporate profit will be essential to watch.

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Ray Ampoloquio

Ray Ampoloquio // Articles: 5953

Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time.
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