Indie publisher founder sets the record straight on how beneficial Xbox Game Pass is to developers
We don’t know specifics, but it appears to be positive for the little guys at least.
With the recent community discourse surrounding Xbox’s game sale numbers due to Game Pass subscriptions, Mike Rose, founder of indie publisher No More Robots, has proclaimed that the service secures success for every title under their umbrella. In fact, No More Robots plans to have all of their games supported on Game Pass going forward.
Developers and publishers are generally restricted by an NDA as to what specifics they can talk about around the service, so we can’t get the exact numbers. That said, Rose seems to be very in favor of how being included in the Game Pass library is an instant benefit on the business side.
From a visibility point of view, we imagine a lot more people download and try indie games in the service compared to how many will buy each individual game. For example, Descenders is a No More Robots-backed title that has been in Game Pass for a while now. Only very specific people would see a biking game like this in the Xbox Store and purchase it. With it being available for download at no extra cost to Game Pass subscribers, so many more people are likely to give it a try. Larger games from studios like EA, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. will also likely get this boost in visibility, though we imagine the financial impact of being in Game Pass is quite different for them.
While we know that many people subscribe to Game Pass and that it makes Microsoft a lot of money, the situation for developers and publishers has never been explicitly known. There have been soft remarks about Xbox covering the development cost of certain titles, but we imagine the contract to be in the service is different depending on the title’s situation. It makes sense for Xbox to cover the low development cost on a game like Descenders, which is pocket change to the company, but they’re likely not shelling out millions of dollars to someone like WB for Back 4 Blood. Hopefully, at some point, we can get a clearer picture of how the service pays its developers and publishers so we can put this conversation to an end.