Former Xbox Vice President "Scared" That Game Pass Could Bring Down The Industry

The former Vice President of Game Publishing at Microsoft Ed Fries recently discussed his concerns about Game Pass, pointing out how the hugely successful service could lead to a future in which people stop actually purchasing their games. Fries worked at Microsoft between 1986 and 2004. The former executive is mostly known for having launched the Xbox back in 2001.

The news comes from an interview by the Xbox Expansion podcast. Fries touched on a variety of different topics, but the most interesting turned out to be the future of gaming. When asked if he would make any changes to the corporate strategy at Microsoft, the former executive noted that Game Pass made him “nervous” before diving into the details of how the service could bring down the industry.

“Game Pass scares me because there’s a somewhat analogous thing called Spotify that was created for the music business.” Fries went on to say that “when Spotify took off, it destroyed the music business. I mean, it literally cut the annual revenue of the music business in half and it’s made it so that people just don’t buy songs anymore.”

Fries wants gaming to avoid the same fate as music. “We have to be careful that we don’t create the same system in the game business,” the former executive said. “These markets are more fragile than people realize.” Fries added that “I saw the games industry destroy itself in the early 1980s. I saw the educational software business destroy itself in the mid-1990s. So, Game Pass makes me nervous. As a customer, I love it. I love Spotify as a customer. I have all the songs I’d ever want. It's a great deal as a customer. But it isn’t necessarily great for the industry.”

While the service currently has over 25 million subscribers, Game Pass actually includes only a handful of different titles. “The percentage of all games that are on Game Pass is still tiny and there’s a lot of games,” Fries noted. “200 games a week come out on Steam and more than that come out on mobile, iOS, and Android.” The former executive concluded by saying that “you know, it’s a thing I’m worried about for the future. But it is a thing I’m worried about.”

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