No More Robots founder Mike Rose has shared his thoughts on Game Pass and its positive impact on the game’s commercial performance. He also explained why his publishing company would try to add every title to Microsoft’s subscription service.
Before moving on to Mike Rose’s comments, here is some context:
The conversation about Game Pass and its impact on game sales started earlier this week after GamesIndustry.biz spotted one interesting finding from the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s provisional report on the Activision Blizzard deal.
“Microsoft also submitted that its internal analysis shows a [redacted]% decline in base game sales twelve months following their addition on Game Pass,” the text reads. This clearly indicates that adding titles to this subscription service cannibalizes sales in general.
Microsoft later told Kotaku that Game Pass is just another option for developers to monetize their games. “Each game is unique, so we work closely with creators to build a custom program to reflect what they need, ensure they are compensated financially for their participation in the service, and allow room for creativity and innovation,” the company stated. “As a result, the number of developers interested in working with Game Pass continues to grow.”
On February 15, Mike Rose posted a couple of tweets, saying that gamers discussing Game Pass just “do not understand how video games work at all.”
“Everytime Game Pass is in the news, my ‘Descenders‘ search fills with mentions as people on both sides try to explain why Descenders is proof of their own claim about Game Pass,” he wrote.
Everytime Game Pass is in the news, my “Descenders” search *fills* with mentions as people on both sides try to explain why Descenders is proof of their own claim about Game Pass
and every single time, oh boy do I learn that gamers do not understand how video games work *at all*
— Mike Rose (@RaveofRavendale) February 15, 2023
Launched in 2019, Descenders is a downhill racing game with procedurally generated maps. It still remains one of, if not the most successful titles published by No More Robots. In 2020, Rose revealed that “our total Xbox sales have tripled” after adding the game to Game Pass. So he knows that Microsoft’s subscription service can sometimes take your project to new heights.
That’s why from now on, No More Robots plans to add every game it publishes to Game Pass. According to Rose, this will allow the company to “secure success for each title and relieve immense pressure for the devs.”
Of course, “every game is unique” (thanks Microsoft), so some titles may benefit from being on Game Pass while others may see a decline in sales. But subscription services can still be great discoverability tools and help developers (especially the smaller ones) reach new audiences.