Is Game Pass a Threat?
Former vice president of game publishing at Microsoft, Ed Fries, has publicly admitted his fears over Game Pass’ impact on the gaming industry as he compares it to Spotify.
In an interview with Xbox Expansion Pass, Ed Fries explains that he fears if Game Pass becomes the dominant business model in the gaming industry it could lead to people simply not buying games anymore which could cut the annual revenue of the gaming industry in half as Spotify did in the music industry.
“The one thing that they’re doing that makes me nervous is Game Pass,” he said. “Game Pass scares me because there’s a somewhat analogous thing called Spotify that was created for the music business.” Fries continues to say “When Spotify took off it destroyed the music business, it literally cut the annual revenue of the music business in half, It’s made it so people just don’t buy songs anymore.”
Ed Fries also admits that he loves Spotify’s business model as a consumer, but it “isn’t necessarily great for the industry”. He also expresses that he has seen the gaming industry destroy itself in the early 80s as did the educational software business in the 90s and that the gaming markets are more fragile than people realize.
On the other hand, music industry journalists disagree with Fries’ point of view. “Spotify didn’t cut the music business in half – piracy did,” he said. “Spotify, and the cloud-based technology on which it relies, actually gave music fans a more convenient, legal, and monetized alternative to piracy.” said editor of MusicBizWorldwide, Tim Ingham, to VGC.
It is worth noting that Xbox Game Pass has already tipped the industry in favor of subscription services as consumers grow more accustomed to it. PlayStation itself has just recently introduced a three-tiered system to the PlayStation Plus subscription service that introduces similar offerings to Game Pass after loud demands from PlayStation customers.