Microsoft has been notoriously tight-lipped about the financial specifics of its Game Pass service, much to the irritation of analysts in the industry. The party line has always been that Game Pass is doing great, but many have been a little incredulous that the subscription service can offer such a package at such a bargain and still turn a profit.
A little nugget of fiscal information has managed to force its way through the cracks formed by the current scrutiny on the company in the wake of its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Last week Brazil’s CADE approved the deal and released documents outlining its decision which included a significant amount of data on Microsoft’s finances and inner business workings, along with competitors like Sony and Nintendo, as noted by TweakTown. Among the data was an actual figure for how much revenue Xbox Game Pass brought in over the course of 2021 — an impressive $2.9 billion.
The figure is impressive in itself, but in context, it’s arguably even more so. The income from Xbox Game Pass comprises almost 30% of Microsoft’s “Games and Services” revenue for Xbox and nearly 19% of the total Xbox-related revenue for the period. It’s also not hard to predict that Xbox Game Pass number is only getting more significant this year. The data only covers Xbox Game Pass figures, and so doesn’t include PC Game Pass. The number of subscribers has already risen in 2022 compared to last year — the high point in 2021 hit 18 million subscribers, while Microsoft confirmed earlier this year that that number has now hit at least 25 million.
It’s an incomplete picture, to be sure — revenue is not the same thing as profit, for one thing — but it’s still a remarkable window into a part of the Microsoft ecosystem about which the company has historically been very guarded. With the promise of more Activision Blizzard games coming to Game Pass and some evidence that Game Pass subscribers play more games and spend more money, it seems Microsoft may have struck gold after all.