Xbox boss Phil Spencer said he’s looking forward to Bethesda’s long-awaited RPG starfield to become one of the most played Microsoft games of all time, and suggested Xbox Game Pass is the key to making the game more popular than Skyrim.
Talking to Stephen Totilo in axiosSpencer has noted the popularity of recent Microsoft exclusives, with Infinite Halo reaching 20 million players and Forza Horizon 5 reaching 18 million since they were released.
He suggested that the games’ popularity was based on their greater accessibility, noting that Game Pass allowed Microsoft to put many releases in the hands of gamers who would not otherwise buy them.
“You can see that with Forza and Halo, the latest releases,” Spencer said. “These are the most played games in these franchises because we make them available on more screens than ever before, through more business models than ever before.”
“I love the stats of Forza 5 and Halo… I love how many people played Psychonauts 2 vs Psychonauts 1.
“So when I look at teams, when Todd and I talk about Starfield, it’s, ‘How can we be sure this is the most played Todd Howard game of all time? [Todd Howard having worked as Skyrim’s director].'”
Spencer went on to say that he hopes Game Pass and Microsoft’s broader strategies will also increase player counts for several major Activision Blizzard franchises after it. acquire the publisher.
“I want more people to play WoW [World of Warcraft] in five years than they are playing today.”
“I want more people to play Call of Duty in five years, more people to play Candy Crush in five years, because we make it more accessible to more people.”
Review: Microsoft thinks Game Pass is the golden ticket
Topping Skyrim’s total player count is no easy feat. Since the acclaimed RPG was released in 2011, it has sell 30 million copies in its first five years and undoubtedly sold more in the following. The 10th Anniversary Edition of the game, released late last year, was warmly received by fans and critics alike, likely further boosting the total number of players.
With Starfield confirmed as exclusive to PC and Xbox, Microsoft has already deleted the game from the PlayStation player base. Spencer’s comments here show the extent of his faith in Xbox Game Pass and its power to market games. As a widely affordable monthly subscription service, it can put recent releases in the laps of millions of gamers. Those who may be uninterested in a game, or would have avoided it, may find themselves sucked in when given the chance to play it at no extra cost.
With Game Pass now sporting 25 million subscribers, an increase of 7 million from January last year, the size and growth of the platform should not be ignored. Microsoft has already committed to putting so many Activision Blizzard titles on Game Pass possible, enhancing the service’s features to attract even more subscribers.
The hype behind Starfield is already immense. An original IP from the minds behind some of Bethesda’s most acclaimed titles, the sci-fi RPG is almost guaranteed a huge audience whether Game Pass has its weight or not. But Spencer’s comments show just how successful Microsoft believes its subscription service can be.