Game Pass is sustainable for developers, Xbox boss says

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With over 100 all-you-can-play downloadable games including some of the best titles in the industry, Xbox Game Pass is such a good deal that people feel bad about it. Is this model actually sustainable? Yes, and it has been for some time.

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Microsoft’s wildly popular Game Pass subscription has transformed gaming. Major publishers like Ubisoft are trying to get in on it, and Sony even added offline downloads to PlayStation Now as a result. It’s a viable solution that’s pushing two forms of valuable earnings: Recurring digital subscriptions and full game purchases.

Game Pass is the ultimate value in gaming right now, giving access to a bunch of classics and every new first-party Xbox game as they release. So how does it make money? Why would anyone want to kind of give their game away for free? The service does something I call the Game Pass Effect: Game Pass subscribers are actually buying more games after having used the service.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer goes on to highlight that Game Pass is indeed sustainable right now, and sustainability remains the ultimate goal for the service moving forward.

“The only concern I ever see people talking about is sustainability. I will say Game Pass right now is doing very well for us, and our developers, the people who are in it,” Spencer said in a recent interview with Major Nelson (around 1:27:00).

The Xbox boss also highlights how 2020 will be a big year simply because gamers will have this existing library of games carry forward to a new generation of consoles. Game Pass is a big delivery mechanism that fosters this kind of cross-generation transition, and will continue being an instrumental force in Microsoft’s potent billion-dollar service webwork.

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Read Also: Why Xbox LIVE is the center of Xbox, not consoles

In that same podcast, Spencer confirmed that Xbox Series X would boost the performance of all last-gen Xbox games. Specifics weren’t outlined, but it’s possible we could see some magic VRS or even ray tracing effects thrown into Xbox One titles via enhancement patches.

Xbox Series X is due out by Holiday 2020. No pricing has been announced.

Check below for confirmed specs and details, and a huge content listing of everything we’ve heard about Xbox Series X so far:

Xbox Series X confirmed details (Formerly Project Scarlett):

  • 8-core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU
  • Navi GPU on RDNA architecture
  • Highly customized 7nm SoC from AMD
  • GDDR6 memory
  • 2x Xbox One X’s 6TFLOPs of GPU perf
  • 4x CPU power of Xbox One generation
  • Can deliver up to 40x more performance than Xbox One in specific use cases
  • Adaptive sync supported
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • Supports 8K resolution (likely media playback)
  • 120FPS gaming
  • Variable refresh rate (adaptive sync/FreeSync)
  • Variable Rate Shading
  • Raytracing confirmed with dedicated raytracing cores
  • Backward compatible with thousands of Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games
  • New controller with a dedicated share button
  • Compatible with Xbox One accessories

Lockhart (Unconfirmed lower-end Xbox Series hardware)

  • 1440p 60FPS
  • No disc drive
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC w/ scaled-down 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHZ and Navi GPU
  • Lower GDDR6 memory pool (Possibly 12GB)
  • ~6-8 TFLOPs of power?
  • Aims to rival PS4 Pro/Replace Xbox One S
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • Cheaper MSRP

Anaconda/Xbox Series X/Project Scarlett

  • 4K 60FPS
  • Disc drive with 4K UHD playback
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC with 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz and Navi GPU
  • 16GB GDDR6 RAM
  • 12 TFLOPs of power
  • 2x GPU power as Xbox One X/aims to replace Xbox One X
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • More expensive MSRP

Xbox Series X coverage: