Fritupley Call of Duty and Fortnite attract the bulk of Xbox users. However, Microsoft is still making a big bet on the Game Pass. Using the example of Outer Wilds and Bethesda projects, analysts from Newzoo talked about the impact of the subscription service on the popularity of both AAA titles and small indie games.The most popular games of October on Xbox

The most popular titles last month were battle royales again.

  • Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnite were played by 21.3% and 20.9% of all Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One users.At the same time, Epic Games has higher retention at all levels — from the first to the 28th day.
  • It is possible to retain Fortnite users thanks to regular updates and partnerships with other brands like Dune and Resident Evil.The third place in popularity was taken by Minecraft, which has a very loyal fanbase.
  • The game was played by 18% of Xbox console users, hundreds of thousands of whom regularly launch this project.The fourth place went to the novelty Back 4 Blood.
  • The cooperative zombie shooter was released in Game Pass on release and attracted the attention of 17.2% of Xbox users. At the same time, the game was noticeably more popular on the new generation consoles.Closes the top five of GTA V with a share of 16.5%.
  • This is due to the great popularity of the online mode, which is regularly played by hundreds of thousands of Xbox users.Games with the largest share of players on Xbox consoles for October

How does Game Pass affect the popularity of games?

Microsoft makes the main bet on its services.

  • In recent months, the company has introduced Game Pass for PC, launched Xbox Cloud Gaming for consoles, signed a deal with Electronic Arts and replenished the library with various AAA titles.In March, Microsoft completed the purchase of ZeniMax.
  • This has significantly increased the popularity of all major Bethesda games that have been added to the Game Pass. In the month after the deal, Skyrim’s Xbox audience grew from 2.4% to 4.1%. Fallout 4 (from 0.9% to 3%) and Doom Eterna l (from 1.4% to 3%) also showed growth, while Prey’s share increased 18 times — from 0.1% to 1.8%. The average length of a gaming session for these titles on the Xbox Series X|S is an hour per day, which is considered a good indicator.Game Pass also increases the popularity of titles from third-party studios.
  • In April, MLB was released in the service: The Show, developed by PlayStation. In the first month, its share among all Xbox users exceeded 25%, beating hits like Fortnite and GTA V.The Xbox subscription service also contributes to the popularization of indie titles.
  • In July, the audience of Outer Wilds declined sharply, as the game was no longer available in the Game Pass. However, in September, people returned to it again after the release of a new addition, and in October, the share of the project almost equaled the April figures.The Outer Wilds case suggests that Game Pass can become a good promotional platform for indie studios.
  • Without having large marketing budgets, they can attract loyal fans to their games, who are then more likely to buy their new project.Chart of changes in the share of players in Outer Wilds among all Xbox users

Of course, the share of players drops noticeably in any game immediately after it disappears from the Game Pass library.

However, the service still greatly increases engagement and can increase interest in both niche and AAA projects.

Despite the confidence of some people in the unprofitability of Game Pass, Phil Spencer assures that the service is steadily growing. “I know that now many people like to write that we are just burning money in the hope of getting a pot of gold in the future. But this is not the case. Game Pass is extremely stable and continues to grow,” he said in an interview with Axios on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Xbox.