Gears 5’s inclusion on the Xbox Game Pass service didn’t stop it from outselling Gears of War 4, said Microsoft executive vice president of gaming Phil Spencer at the XO19 event this week.
In a wide-ranging interview with Eurogamer Spencer said that “Gears 5 sold well for us. It sold better than Gears 4. And we feel good about it.” Specifically, Spencer indicated that having the title available at launch on both Game Pass and standalone didn’t detract from Microsoft’s view of the title’s success. It’s a notable data point for those who want games to stay available as standalone releases rather than be pushed into exclusive subscription service models—showing that the demand for standalone is very much there.
Spencer went on to specify that the Game Pass business model has also been successful. “I think there’s some confusion out there whether Game Pass works. Game Pass works as a business model.” Spencer also made an interesting comparison of the debate over subscription-versus-standalone to crossplay—allowing players to play together across different platforms—saying that it’s something gamers need to make known that they want.
He was quick, however, to diffuse the kind of concerns some have expressed over services like Google Stadia. “I’m not trying to funnel everybody who wants to play Gears into the subscription,” Spencer said, "It’s about giving gamers choice.”