Xbox Game Pass subs have grown 37%, but Microsoft execs won’t be happy


In brief: Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass continues to be a popular service for both console and PC users. During its financial year 2021, which ended on June 30, 2021, subscriber numbers increased 37%. That might sound like something the company would be pleased about, but it’s actually 11% lower than Microsoft’s target.

Axios reports that Xbox Game Pass subs skyrocketed 86% between mid-2019 and mid-2020, jumping 86%—beating its target of 71%. The company wasn’t expecting FY2021 to be as successful so targeted a 48% growth goal, but XGP fell short.

Missing the target will impact Microsoft executives as it’s the only pure gaming metric listed in senior management’s payment plans, sitting alongside targets such as number of LinkedIn sessions and usage of Microsoft Teams. So if you see Phil Spencer looking miserable, this might be why.

Exactly how many subscribers Xbox Game Pass now boasts is unclear. The most recent official figure was 18 million back in January. It’s believed to have been over 22 million by April, so surpassing 30 million before the end of the year is a strong possibility—assuming it hasn’t already reached that milestone.

Making Xbox Game Pass more compelling for new subs is Forza Horizon 5’s arrival on the service this November 5, the same day as its official launch, while Age of Empires IV lands next Thursday (October 28), and Halo Infinite hits on December 8.

Additionally, Minecraft will join Game Pass for PC on November 2, followed by new Minecraft Dungeons Seasonal Adventures in December, and Caves & Cliffs: Part II later this year. There’s also Everspace 2 on October 21.

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