The Current State of Xbox Game Pass

The Xbox Game Pass launch in 2017 catalyzed the revenue growth of Xbox. Xbox Game Pass is the popular monthly subscription service provided by Microsoft for the owners of the Xbox One. 

The service allows the users to gain access and download several games by paying a monthly rate. Microsoft’s Xbox has evolved as the most powerful gaming console ever. 

Xbox is currently heading to the next generation consoles and is strengthening its positions. It has continuously been adjusting to modern trends and has set the gaming enthusiasts in motion. 

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass’s popularity experienced an enormous surge in 2018 due to the brand new games available. It has become the new value standard for the current console generation. 

In 2020, it is recognized as the best gaming deal that offers hundreds of titles at less than $20 a month. It currently has 10 million subscribers. According to Microsoft, the increase in subscribers is due to the global COVID-19 quarantine. 

The content, as well as service revenues, have reached up to $33 million. But despite the increase in the number of subscribers, the revenue has witnessed a decline. 

In the second quarter of 2020, Microsoft’s gaming revenue experienced a drop of 21%, and Xbox services and content revenue declined by 11%. However, Xbox Game Pass is still expected to witness positive growth due to exciting games.

Some of their games include Red Dead Redemption 2, The Surge 2, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Gears 5, and more. Here are some more games available on the Xbox Game Pass:

Source: TrueAchievements

Xbox Game Pass Current Business Model

This may be a poor model for Xbox partnered developers. Some developers will get paid less than others. It depends on how much the consumers opt to play their games using the subscription service.

However, Microsoft’s subscription service is new to the industry. Xbox Game Pass is about to explore more business models to ensure better games and reach more people. This is according to Phil Spencer, the head of the company.

How Do They Make Revenue?

  • Xbox Game Pass Membership Programs

One of the primary sources of earning revenues for Xbox Game Pass is the membership programs. Users can choose a particular plan from the various plans available and become a member for a monthly fee of $9.99.

Players can also opt for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate’s subscription by paying $1 in the first month and then $14.99 per month. This subscription will include the Xbox Live Gold membership and access to all the Xbox Game Console games.

  • Partner Programs

Partner programs are another revenue earning source for them. It allows members who have availed of the service to avail of the beneficial partner programs. Part of the earnings goes to the Xbox Game Pass and helps in generating more revenues.

Xbox Game Pass Content

The content library of Xbox Game Pass comprises a wide range of console and PC games. Currently, it has about 200 titles for the members to play. Some top games available in the games library include:

  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Minecraft Dungeons
  • Street of Rage 4
  • Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition 4
  • Grand Theft Auto 5, Halo: Infinite
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Wasteland 3
  • Metal Gear Solid V
  • Gears 5
  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • …and more

Xbox Game Pass also offers nearly 150 titles for users to play on PC. Some top games available on PC include Dishonored 2, Slay the Spire, Hatoful Boyfriend, Halo Wars 2, and more. 

Some new titles that will be made available soon are Football Manager 2020, Stranger Things 3: The Game, Mistover, Alvastia Chronicles, and much more.

Xbox Game Pass is considered to be a Netflix style of gaming. Like Netflix, it provides the players with a Netflix-style game library that can be accessed by paying a monthly or annual subscription fee.

It also provides unlimited access to more than a hundred titles with a monthly price of $10, which is comparatively lower. It also offers value to players as they do not need to depend on the broadband speed to play the games.

Xbox Game Pass Pricing

Xbox Game Pass offers great pricing options to attract more players to the exclusive service. It costs $9.99 for a month on the console, along with access to the PC beta at $1 writing fees for the initial three months. After that, it will cost $4.99 per month or $14.99 every quarter. 

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is an optimum choice for players who want to have access to a rotating library of monthly games along with free games. It’s available at $15 and provides the complete Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass experience.

Players also get to enjoy the à la carte purchases at discounted prices.

Xbox Game Pass Subscribers

The service has now acquired over 10 million subscribers. According to the latest reports, Microsoft also records 90 million users who are active on Xbox Live.

The 10 million subscribers also include many players who have signed up for the introductory offer of $1. However, the overall figure is impressive and marks a success for Microsoft’s exclusive service of Xbox Game Pass.

According to Phil Spencer, the members of Xbox Game Pass have added over 23 million friends to Xbox Live. He also mentioned that this shows a 70% increase in the friendship rate than that of the last month.

Moreover, the Game Pass members are also playing twice the times they used to and are engaging in multiplayer gaming. This increased the percentage to 130%.


Xbox Game Pass has users from nearly 41 countries worldwide. According to March 2020 statistics, the highest number of Xbox One consoles is sold in North America, followed by Europe and the rest of the globe.

While North America records 30.9 million units of Xbox One console sales, Europe shows 11.69 million units. 4.69 million units are sold in the rest of the world. 

The statistics below show that the maximum subscribers of Xbox Game Pass are from North America and the minimum from Japan.

Source: Statista
Source: Windows Central

According to Microsoft’s internal research, about 58% of males and 42% of females own the Xbox One in the United States. The Xbox Game Pass subscribers fall in the age category of 25 to 34 years, followed by 35 to 44 years old in the United States.

Nearly 56% of the Xbox One owners are married and live with their partners, 25% of people reside with their parents, and 10% of the owners live alone.


Xbox Game Pass has several competitors in the industry. Its top rivals are:

  • PlayStation Now

One of Xbox Game Pass’s biggest rival, PlayStation Now is a popular game streaming service provided by Sony. With a monthly subscription fee payment, Sony offers players access to the Netflix-style game library, which contains over 500 titles and 800 games.

Some of the top games available on PS Now are Red Dead Redemption, GTA 5, God of War, Prey, Project Cars 2, Metro 2033 Redux, and more. The introduction of PS5 with its enormous feature sets is one of the future plans for how PS Now prepares to strive in the competitive market.

It is important to note here that PS Now is a live streaming service, where Xbox Game Pass still requires downloading games.

  • Stadia

Google Stadia is another close competitor. Stadia is dedicated to game live streaming. Its simplistic interface and flexibility attract more gaming enthusiasts.

Without the requirement of a gaming PC or console, Stadia allows players to engage in their favorite games through a good internet connection. This means that they can play the games through phone, TV, and computer.

Google’s Stadia offers a wide range of games, including Mortal Kombat 11, Destiny 2, and more. But excess data usage and the need for consistent and strong internet connection is a disadvantage of Stadia. 

However, despite all odds, Google’s Stadia is expected to be the future of gaming. The cloud computing power of Stadia provides it an edge to compete with its rivals.

  • GeForce NOW

With excellent performance and reliable pricing, NVIDIA GeForce NOW stands as the best game streaming service online. It’s features like super accessibility, the ability to play from your Steam library, and the absence of any upfront costs attract more members.

It offers several free titles like Path of Exile, Destiny 2, Fortnite, and more. Affordable pricing and a vast library also make GeForce NOW more appealing for the players.

How Do They Plan to Compete Against Their Rivals?

To compete with the rivals in the industry, Microsoft announced the introduction of Project xCloud in 2018. It’s a promising game streaming service designed to give tough competition against its rivals.

The ability to run at lower latency and smooth imaging are expected to provide it with an edge over its competitors. It also enables users to play the big-name games on the device of their choice.

According to Microsoft, Project xCloud will stream up to 3,500 games, and 1,900 more games will be added later. It seems to be an impressive move to make a reliable stand in the competitive industry.

Even though there are specific issues with it, it will completely be ironed before the complete release of Project xCloud. With exceptional streaming quality, it is all set to provide an optimum experience to the players.

Competitive Advantages

Xbox Game Pass offers several competitive advantages compared to the others in the industry. One of the significant benefits of the Game Pass is Microsoft’s cloud computing networks that enable players to access their favorite games easily. 

The comfortable and convenient access to the previous generation titles is another feature that makes it stand out. Having the ability to play original games on the PC is another potential competitive advantage for them.


While there are plenty of advantages, it has some weaknesses too. One of the significant drawbacks is the lack of quality games on the gaming console. Its rotating games are another potential weakness.


Xbox Game Pass has a compelling library of games to play. It distinguishes itself as one of the most consumer-friendly deals. Rather than paying for individual games, players can pay $10 and get unlimited access to a catalog of games.

With its subscriber count of 10 million, it still continues to grow. Its availability on Windows 10 PCs is yet another feature that makes it more appealing.

As a part of its short term plans, Xbox aims to provide value to its customers by adding more new and exciting games to the library. However, Project xCloud is a significant element of its long term plans. 

With great offerings, Xbox Game Pass delivers a seamless experience to gaming enthusiasts. 

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