Xbox Game Pass Was Originally A Game Rental Service

Long before it blossomed into one of the best deals in gaming that it is today, Xbox Game Pass’ entire structure was focused on rentals. According to a report from GQ, Game Pass was in the works at Xbox since 2013, and its first iteration was essentially an Xbox-exclusive version of Gamefly.

Game Pass’ time as a rental service didn’t last too long though, thanks to the rapid growth of two subscription-based services, Spotify and Netflix. Xbox Game Pass then similarly became a subscription service, although as Xbox’s head of gaming ecosystems Sarah Bond remembers, selling the idea to game publishers wasn’t easy. “They were like, ‘No way, [Game Pass] is going to devalue games.'”

While unproven back then, the myth that Game Pass would impact a game’s sales was prevalent until recently. A number of game releases over Game Pass, including Descenders and The Ascent, have shown that despite releasing through the subscription-based platform, a game can still sell incredibly well or even see a spike in sales post-launch.

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Author: Otto Kratky