Microsoft has made Game Pass the key element for the Xbox growth. Analytics from Newzoo used Bethesda titles and Outer Wilds as an example to show how the subscription service helped boost classic AAA games and small indie hits.
Player share for Bethesda games on Xbox has grown significantly since Microsoft closed a ZeniMax acquisition and added the publisher’s titles to Game Pass.
According to Newzoo, Skyrim’s player share on Xbox Series X|S rose from 2.4% in February to 4.1% in March. Player shares for Fallout 4 and Doom Eternal grew from 0.9% to 3% and from 1.4% to 3% over the same period. Arkane-developed Prey saw the biggest increase, with its player share rising from 0.1% to 1.8%
All these titles had a high engagement rate and average playtime of one hour per session, which are pretty strong numbers.
Xbox Game Pass also helps indie games attract an engaged audience. Although the Outer Wilds share dropped significantly in July after it was removed from the Game Pass library, players returned to the game in September, when the Echoes of the Eye expansion came out.
It means that Game Pass might increase discoverability for games developed by smaller studios. Although they don’t have big marketing budgets, they can attract a lot of players, who might like their titles and buy their next projects for a full price in the future.
Game Pass also can boost new games. Back 4 Blood, which was available in the service at launch, became the fourth most played title on Xbox in October. It had a player share of 17.2%, with this number rising to 29% on new-gen consoles.
As a result, Back 4 Blood sat right behind hits like Minecraft (a player share of 18%), Fortnite (20.9%), and Call of Duty: Warzone (21.3%).
The full report by Newzoo can be found here.