A few days ago, Microsoft published a report for the quarter from October to December last year, which showed a 12% drop in services and content revenue in the Xbox division. At the same time, in the same report, Microsoft announced a record number of Game Pass subscribers, but did not specify specific figures.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer was asked in a new interview with IGN if he doesn’t think Game Pass is growing as fast as Microsoft might have hoped. Phil replied as follows:
Well, one of the things about Game Pass is that we’re in uncharted territory doing what we do with a subscription in the industry. Therefore, it is more difficult for us to navigate, we cannot go somewhere and look at examples that will help us understand how fast we need to grow. We now have an all-time high level of paid subscribers and Game Pass continues to grow. I’m happy with the growth. We set high internal goals and people see that sometimes we don’t reach those goals, sometimes we reach them, but I will always be ambitious about what we are trying to do.
I would say that the quarterly numbers you’re talking about with software and services is one of the things to keep in mind when evaluating is that it’s a year-to-year comparison. Last year  this quarter we had Age of Empires, we had Forza Horizon 5, we had Halo Infinite. All this is very good for us and as we have already noted, we did not have such a large number of major releases in the same quarter of this year. .
Thus, compared to last year, the results have declined, and this is not what we are striving for when running a business. This is not our goal, but there is some timing in this. […] But our goal is to be a growing healthy business. This is our commitment within Microsoft and what we are trying to do. And for this, it is important to regularly release great games.
Spencer was also asked about the importance of new releases like Redfall and Starfield for the future of the subscription, to which he responded with the following:
Redfall and Starfield are really important games, as is every in-house studio game we make. As far as Game Pass growth goes, it’s been solid. And as we add new games and sequels to games, we see constant growth. Sometimes the growth comes in games where we expected it to, and every once in a while Vampire Survivors or Hi-Fi Rush pop up and create their own excitement among the players. So sometimes you can predict the games that will get you excited and sometimes you will be surprised. And what I love about our industry is that great games can come from all sorts of places.
As for us, we apparently closed the deal to acquire ZeniMax a couple of years ago after seeing Bethesda, ZeniMax being the parent company, releases Hi-Fi Rush, releases Redfall, releases the Elder Scrolls Online update, releases Starfield… that these games are coming. this year. And we started the year with our first launch of Game Pass for Xbox and PC. I’m just really excited about the power that Bethesda is going to showcase in our portfolio, and we’re starting to see that as early as 2023, which is exciting.
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