Xbox Game Pass Subscriber Growth Slowed Down This Year

Game Pass subscriptions have slowed in the fiscal year 2021 according to new documents released by Microsoft.

In a new financial statement, Microsoft revealed that Xbox Game Pass subscriptions rose by 37.5% falling short of its internal target of 47.8%. In contrast, last year Microsoft over-performed on its targets to grow Xbox Game Pass, increasing subscriptions by nearly 86% over a goal of 71%.

What this means is that Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscriptions have slowed this past year, and it’s likely a combination of factors. One of the key promises of Xbox Game Pass is that first-party titles will be available on the service day and date. So far in 2021, first-party titles have been relegated mostly to Age of Empire remasters, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Psychonauts 2.

New first-party titles like Age of Empire 4 and Halo Infinite are still months away and will deliver on Game Pass’ promise of major first-party day and date releases.

And Xbox Game Pass remains a key focus for Microsoft overall. Growing the service is a key performance metric for Microsoft executives, meaning hitting desired growth goals will result in bonuses for members of Microsoft’s leadership team. As Axios reports, Game Pass growth is the only pure gaming metric in the executive payment plan, highlighting its importance.

As Microsoft’s first-party offerings ramp up, it will likely affect Xbox Game Pass’ subscription numbers.

Matt T.M. Kim is IGN's News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.


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