Xbox Game Pass / PS5 Games
Image: Push Square

Update: Following a wave of reporting based on documentation from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority which suggested what we all suspected, that Xbox Game Pass is harming full-price software sales, the Redmond firm has released a statement to Kotaku which fails to deny the claims:

"Xbox Game Pass offers gamers and game creators more choice and opportunity in how they discover, experience, and deliver games. For gamers, that means providing another option for them to discover games and play with friends at a great value. For developers, that means creating another option for how they monetize their games.

"We’re focused on helping game creators of all sizes maximize the total financial value they receive through Game Pass. 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. As a result, the number of developers interested in working with Game Pass continues to grow."

Corporate lingo translation: yes, it's affecting software sales.

Original Article: Xbox's popular Game Pass subscription is tanking the sales of games that join the service. Included in a new report from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, Microsoft has admitted that software added to Game Pass has its actual sales figures significantly impacted as a result.

"Microsoft also submitted that its internal analysis shows a [redacted]% decline in base game sales twelve months following their addition on Game Pass," the report states. So, for a year following a game's launch on Game Pass, it sees a dip in sales on Xbox platforms.

This is the opposite of remarks Phil Spencer made about the perceived effects of Game Pass on the market. The executive said putting a game on Game Pass was "leading to more sales of the game", but now the platform holder is saying otherwise.

Interestingly, Activision shows concerns about the subject as well. In the same report, Microsoft says the publisher isn't comfortable with including its games on subscription services as doing so might "severely cannibalise B2P [buy-to-play] sales, particularly in the case of newer releases".

Sony has been more cautious about putting large-scale games on the revamped PS Plus day one; especially when it comes to its own, first-party titles, the company is sticking to the more traditional premium release method. It's been working out well, with record-breaking sales for games like God of War Ragnarok and others. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has made his thoughts on the matter pretty clear in the past, and with this revelation from Microsoft, it seems he may have been right.

This is all part of the ongoing investigation into Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Regulators in the UK and USA are still concerned the $69 billion deal will have too large an impact on the industry, potentially harming Xbox's competitors.