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Microsoft Is Xbox Series Coasting Off Game Pass?

It's hard to gauge just how well the Xbox Series line is doing because Microsoft stopped releasing hardware numbers starting with the Xbox One, but according to Vgchartz, the console has sold 18 million units. It's much more competitive than the Xbox One was against the PS4.

But I feel like a lot of that is simply having an expansive library of games on Gamepass, which is especially full of titles from past generations. I thought Microsoft would start putting out more high profile software with all of their acquisitions, but that has yet to manifest.

Last year gave us Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, but aside from those games and Psychonauts 2, I feel like things have been quiet on the Xbox front. It's really Gamepass deals and hardware price cuts that are being used to attract new buyers.

I think this is a good approach to get people who have never owned an Xbox or lapsed Xbox games back into the ecosystem, but for someone who's been with them since the 360 generation, I can't help but feel jaded. Does anyone else feel the same way? Hopefully we see more software release soon. Starfield is around the corner next year, assuming it doesn't get delayed.


Vocare Ad Pugnam
Jul 31, 2010
Gotham City
It definitely feels like Xbox is throwing all their efforts into Gamepass. Gears 5 for example felt completely rushed just to coincide with Gamepass with its 2 year development for what was said to be the biggest Gears of War game to date. Yet the game was undercooked and launched with so many bugs and glitches. It's a much better package today, sure, but there's something about it that just never sat right with me and I think it can definitely be attributed to Gamepass.

For instance, this Gears of War game has an extensive tutorial... Why does the 5th game in a series of nearly identical playing games need a tutorial? Because of Gamepass, of course. New casual players need to learn how to play a Gears game if they're gonna be trying it on Gamepass in order to feel like they're getting their money's worth on the subscription, which I get. But it actually goes much deeper than that and this is where it really starts to bother me.

Gears of War has always been a co-op centric franchise and while Gears 5 has co-op, it's also very apparent the game was made with a single player in mind, or should I say, the average Gamepass customer who is just casually checking out the game by themselves. The progression of the game for example is very single player minded, with only the host of the game retaining all JACK upgrades, which speaking of, is a player controlled assist character... y'know, instead of your living and breathing co-op partner.

Even the new open levels that artificially inflate the scope of the game are just barren open maps with various points of interests to engage with that ultimately mimics that open world feeling of exploration you'd get from, well, single player open world games. Is there anything to do with your co-op partner while you're traversing the map like in Halo or even previous entries of the series that featured vehicles? Nope. One player gets to enjoy operating the vehicle and the other just sits there until you reach the next destination. Nothing to shoot at or engage with while driving, just sit there while the other player gets to feel immersed in the game because player 2 is literally just there for the ride.

Then we look at Halo: Infinite, another famously co-op franchise and it took 1 whole year to even implement because the game was clearly never designed with it in mind to begin with. This wasn't just the next Halo game, it was Halo by way of Gamepass and it's becoming harder to ignore. Rather than focus their efforts on making the best games possible, they keep trying to find ways to make Gamepass appealing, including studio acquisitions.

If altering established franchises to give them more generic appeal wasn't bad enough, these studio acquisitions seem to be less about making great content for Xbox and more about just having content for Gamepass subscribers period. We have yet to see any evidence that these studios are churning out better quality games under Microsoft and it's even harder to believe given the nightmare that was Halo: Infinite's development. If they weren't willing to pour the necessary amount of money and resources into Halo, Xbox's flagship franchise, then I don't think quality is of any concern to Xbox. Nintendo has their seal of quality and Playstation has built up this monster reputation for putting out the biggest AAA games, but Xbox, Xbox has Gamepass.

Don't get me wrong, I still love Xbox and it's still my primary console of choice and I don't see that changing anytime soon. There's lots of interesting games in the pipeline like Hellblade II, Perfect Dark, Indiana Jones, and State of Decay 3 that I'm looking forward to personally. But it does get irksome when I see Microsoft having such a lax attitude with all the studios they've acquired and how they're just gonna let them do whatever they want, which is great for the devs, but is it really what's best for consumers when time and resources are being spent on Gamepass fodder like like Grounded and Pentiment? And worst of all, they turned down a deal with Marvel and basically handed Spider-Man over to Playstation so their devs can work on things nobody wants anyway. It's like their leash is too tight on their pre-existing properties but not tight enough on all these new studios who they basically bought just to throw their libraries up on Gamepass.

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