Now normally I don’t like to rail on websites in the video game industry, but for Kotaku I make an exception as they are a bunch of click-baiting trolls who get off on dividing the industry. And while I usually ignore their incessant drivel, I just couldn’t pass up the ridiculousness of their recent take that “Xbox Game Pass burnout is here.”
In the article, the author claims that “a drought of AAA games has spurred some to unsub from Microsoft’s games-on-demand service” — a bold take based on, checks notes, the fact that “Xbox Game Pass” sometimes trends on Twitter with some individuals proudly proclaiming they are unsubscribing from the service.
Keep in mind, that the latest numbers from Microsoft have Xbox Game Pass at 25 million subscribers, which is up from the 18 million previously reported last year. Now it’s worth mentioning that some things have changed since Microsoft announced that number in January.
Bethesda, for instance, announced that both Redfall and Starfield, two highly anticipated Xbox exclusives that would be day one launches on Xbox Game Pass, have been delayed to the first quarter of 2023. Microsoft also has a lackluster lineup of exclusives slated to arrive throughout the remainder of the year. The lack of a 2022 holiday blockbuster is alarming, no doubt, but we’ve still got the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase in June, so perhaps some surprises are in store.
And it’s quite possible that some people have unsubscribed from the subscription-based service out of disappointment. But we don’t know how many for certain. And how serious can we take the occasional tweet, especially with how many trolls exist online who love to fuel the Xbox versus PlayStation battle?
My point is, this a ridiculous take to have (although par for the course for Kotaku). Kotaku wants you to believe Microsoft has a problem with Xbox Game Pass, while the author simultaneously gives themselves an out by the incredibly vague use of phrase “some to unsub.” You know, just in case Microsoft reports another increase in subscribers, it was only “some” people who unsubscribed over the lack of AAA exclusives.
So then we get to Xbox’s response, which was pure gold:
Xbox Game Pass is a games subscription service. You pay a monthly fee and you get access to a wide library of vastly different games, spanning all sorts of genres and scope. As part of this subscription, you get access to all first-party Xbox games at launch. Now most first-party Xbox games are AAA titles, but not all games are AAA titles. Xbox Game Pass is more than just a AAA games subscription service.
If you’re subscribed solely to have access to Xbox’s first-party titles on launch day, yes, you may be disappointed. But there are so many gems available also — Tunic, Cris Tales, Deep Rock Galactic, Hades, Limbo. On the sports front, we’ve got MLB The Show 22 and NBA 2K22 along with Madden 22 and NHL 22 via EA Play (for Ultimate members). Trek to Yomi just arrived. And soon we’ll be getting Sniper Elite 5 and Assassin’s Creed Origins. These may be niche but they are hardly indie.
Twitter is hardly reflective of the real world and I absolutely loathe when articles cherrypick a few tweets on Twitter and come up with a narrative like it’s some widespread belief. To be fair to the author, the article does mention the large swaths of people who call the whole debate meaningless “clout wars” and that’s really all it is. So really then, what’s the point of this article?
I’m not entirely sure that Xbox’s response is to Kotaku only, but to everyone who feels the need to proclaim when they unsubscribe from the service due to the lack of AAA titles.