An interesting tidbit buried among the day's big news about Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard (opens in new tab) is that the Xbox Game Pass continues to be a huge success, and has now amassed more than 25 million subscribers. And in case there was any doubt, subscribers can look forward to Activision Blizzard games being added to the Game Pass lineup in the future.
"Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog," Spencer said in his acquisition announcement on the Xbox Newswire (opens in new tab). "We also announced today that Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers. As always, we look forward to continuing to add more value and more great games to Game Pass."
25 million subscribers adds up to a hefty chunk of monthly revenue for Microsoft, but even more impressive is the growth it represents, up from 18 million subscribers just a year ago. That number is bound to keep climbing, and quite possibly at an accelerating rate, especially if Microsoft decides that some future Call of Duty or Overwatch 3 is going to be a console exclusive. That might seem unlikely now, but Microsoft dropped the exclusivity hammer on Starfield (opens in new tab) and The Elder Scrolls 6 (opens in new tab) after it acquired Bethesda, saying that both will only be released for Xbox and PC, and there's no reason it won't do it again.
Spencer has previously said that Microsoft doesn't view Game Pass as a replacement for conventional purchases (opens in new tab), but subscription-based gaming has clearly become a priority for the future: In December 2021, Microsoft used the high-profile showcase of the Game Awards to finally give the PC version of Game Pass a sensible name (opens in new tab), a rebranding that not all that terribly long ago likely would have been treated as a relatively mundane bit of bookkeeping.
PlayStation maker Sony has also apparently taken notice of the popularity of Game Pass, and is reportedly working on a similar subscription offering (opens in new tab) of its own. Spencer thinks it's a good idea (opens in new tab).