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PlayStation Boss Says Game Developers “Unanismously” Dislike Game Pass

Posted June 28, 2023 | Game Pass | Games | Playstation | Windows | Xbox | Xbox Game Pass

PlayStation Boss Jim Ryan appeared as a witness during the Microsoft v. FTC hearing, and the gaming exec didn’t mince his words about Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service. If Ryan is to be believed, most game developers think getting their games on Game Pass is actually a bad deal.

“I talked to all publishers they unanimously do not like Game Pass, because it’s value destructive,” the PlayStation boss claimed during his deposition (via The Verge). The exec added that it’s a “very commonly held view by publishers.”

Jim Ryan’s Game Pass comments come after Sony significantly revamped its PlayStation Plus subscription to make it more competitive with Game Pass. The company added two new “Extra” and “Premium” tiers providing access to big-name blockbusters, family-friendly games, indie titles, and old PlayStation Studios exclusive games.

The PlayStation Plus Premium tier also provides access to games from past PlayStation generations via cloud streaming, and Sony is reportedly testing cloud streaming for PS5 games as well. Overall, the main difference between PlayStation Plus and Game Pass is that Sony isn’t making its new first-party games available on day one on its subscription service to preserve game sales.

This is pretty much what Ryan meant by “value destructive,” as Sony consistently manages to sell millions of copies of its new blockbuster games. The upcoming PS5 exclusive Spiderman 2 from Insomniac Games should be no exception.

Previously, the Microsoft v. FTC hearing revealed an email from Head of Xbox Games Studios Matt Booty from 2019. That email was part of a conversation about the consequences of Microsoft potentially backtracking on making its first-party games available on day one on Game Pass.

“If we reverse course on day and date, it’s going to be hard to convince folks that things like Mixer or Xcloud have much of a chance of surviving scrutiny either,” Booty said in the email. Fast forward to 2023, Microsoft still believes that an Xbox-exclusive game like Starfield can help to grow its Game Pass subscriber base, and this is what ultimately matters for the company.

In recent years, Phil Spencer and other Xbox execs also repeated several times that Game Pass subscribers are also playing and buying more games. Subscribers may want to buy games they like before they disappear from the Game Pass library, and they also may want to buy additional content for these games. With over 400 games available on Microsoft’s game subscription service as of this writing, it seems that many developers are actually aligned with the company’s vision.

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