Avalanche Studios, the team behind the Just Cause series and the upcoming Xbox Series X|S exclusive Contraband, has opened up about the joys of Xbox Game Pass. According to a recent interview with the studio's CEO Pim Holfve, "Game Pass has been really great for [them]."
Holfve was speaking to Gamesindustry.biz about the company's current titles in the service such as Just Cause 4 and theHunter: Call of the Wild. Focusing on the latter, Holfve said their "service model" has worked due to Xbox Game Pass. The game is claimed to have hit seven million players since its release and is still seeing around one million active players per-month.
Holfve also added that Game Pass has been a "good way" for people to check out the game, and as a result, purchase a variety of available DLCs. The closing thought was that "it's made Xbox a way more important platform than [they] ever initially thought."
"Game Pass has been really great for us, especially if we look at our self-published title. TheHunter: Call of the Wild helped us prove our service model and Xbox Game Pass was fantastic because we were able to reach so many more players. It's a good way for people to try [the game], and since we have such a massive DLC catalogue for that title — over 20 DLCs — it's a beautiful way of getting people in, getting engaged and showing that it's a stellar game. Then people are really tempted to buy more. So the business model really works to our advantage."
Holfve added that working with Xbox on Contraband "made a lot of sense" due to the "grandness" of the game. It's said to "not [be] a concept [they] would pitch to every publisher". Being a first-party title means they also have a lot of support, especially considering the game is arriving into Xbox Game Pass on day one.
"We've had a great relationship with Microsoft, and working with a first party has been intriguing as well, seeing what that actually means in terms of support and getting closer to the hardware. It's a new type of partnership for us. We've had fantastic partnerships with Square Enix, Bethesda and Warner Bros, but those are not the same as first-party."
There's no confirmed release date for Contraband yet, and all we've been privy to is a short teaser trailer, but it's sounding to be a pretty ambitious title. It's claimed to be an Xbox Series X|S exclusive due to the upgraded Apex engine being utilised for it, which is a "brand-new version with a lot of 'special sauce' added."
At the time of its reveal, it was said the game would "take full advantage of the unique capabilities of Xbox Series X|S". It's unclear how, but it's lining up to be the developer's biggest title yet. Let's wait and see if they stick the landing.
Are you excited for Contraband to hit Xbox Game Pass? Drop us a comment and let us know.
The assumption being that it’s better for devs to get a big wodge up front from Microsoft than have to rely on sales estimates. You can then flog DLC to a much wider user base too.
Not surprised that a game with plenty of DLC or MTX does better on game pass. But is that really what we want more of? Games cut up and sold piecemeal? Personally no
Exactly. One of the reasons why I'm not a fan of these many "Studio X says Game Pass is good" puff piece articles.
Got to love all this talk of “first party” and “great working relationship”. It’s almost as if they preparing us for the acquisition news drop in a way no one can deny they have a big history.
@themightyant these days, almost all games are lined up and published with a DLC roadmap. Only when a game disappoints on their expectations they end up not getting any DLC.
GamePass or no GamePass, DLC is here to stay.
@Tharsman I think it's the fact that they only put the standard version of a game on game pass & not the deluxe , ultimate , complete edition that's the let down
Proof that ms is gonna acquire avalanche 🤣
@Tharsman sure. But there’s a difference between having one or two meaty DLC and cutting a game up and having 20+ DLC, adding in-game currency and MTX.
My concern is that Game Pass will start to attract, or even encourage, more of the latter. We’ve seen it before with games on services like GOLD, PS+ and particularly mobile games with only the thin base game available.
Do you want more of that?
While i’m not a big mobile gamer one great thing Apple Arcade does is make all games complete and MTX free to prevent publishers tying to have their cake and eat it too.
The more time that goes on the more intriguing game pass model will be. In my mind it will undoubtably change gaming perhaps the way Netflix or Spotify has changed the film/music industry. Whether that's for the better, who knows as jury still out for those and it's definitely a mixed bag of responses.
Certainly Spotify appears to mainly be hated by musicians while Netflix business model appears mixed.
Game pass differs to netflix because they don't buy the film studios but contract what is being made. Oddly I'd worry if neflix bought out Disney, universal and Warner brothers for example, because having one company make the decisions for films instead of several companies making decisions sounds bad for the film industry. Gaming isn't quite seen the same for some reason but I guess time will tell.
@themightyant for the most part games that have 20+ dlc are not chopping the game in bunch of tiny chunks but simply adding stuff like weapon packs or Minecraft-like theme packs or, in the case or Hunter Call of the Wild, “challenge packs.”
If someone wants to make a free game and just get MTX money, they are way better off just making the game free, as they will have a much larger audience than being locked behind GamePass (reason the multiplayer for Halo will just be F2P, so they can monetize customization and season passes.)
I’m sure if someone tries to pass a F2P game for a premium game and just try to get MS to give them money just to be inside GamePass, they will be in for a big surprise when they don’t get anywhere.
@Tharsman all these things used to be part of a game, unlockable weapons, character and weapon skins, different levels, and challenges etc. In my view this IS cut out the game and then resold as 20+ DLC.
Some games still do include all this and are usually both better for it and praised. I’d rather encourage that over this nickel and diming. It’s a slippery slope.
If they make another JC game, I hope it's better than the god aweful effort that 4 was. Nothing like the 'much better' earlier ones. JC 2 was excellent fun. Every one since then seems to get worse.
Gamepass is great for games that normally wouldn't sell well, and "the hunter" game is a perfect example, 7 million players have tried it on gamepass but in terms of actual sales I bet its not even close to a million on all platforms combined.
If your game is niche and doesn't usually sell well or is an indie or even a multiplayer game that will die off after 3 months then gamepass is perfect for them, but for the biggest AAA third party games that will sell millions of copies physically and digitally I notice they tend to skip gamepass and put it on a few years later when sales die down just to get a bit more money from Microsoft
@themightyant your not wrong on the good ol days back on og Xbox and PS2 but that hasn't been the way sense the 360. This has been the thing more often then not with here is our road map of stuff to come and add on content. Announced before the game drops. I don't think you can point to gamepass and say look what it's doing.
Hell look at ghost directors cut on ps5 got to buy the game again to get the add on content
Or warzone selling skins for 20 a pop
@themightyant - While I completely agree that unlockables, skins etc used to be the norm it's been well over a decade since it was the norm. It's just how it is for a very long time now. The slippery slope horse (and it's armor) bolted in 2006.
@themightyant the difference is (in most cases) that those extra characters/weapons/skins only exist at all because they were developed after the product shipped and was successful enough to justify more development be sunk into the titles.
There is usually one or two throwaway skins or weapons or nick nacks that break that rule but they are usually not sold and instead locked behind preorder bonus codes.
If I make a game, and it’s successful, and decide to invest more time on it and create more content for it, why is it wrong to do so and sell said content? That content would had not existed at all had or not been for the prospect of being able to sell it to a large installed base of players of said title.
@Shigurui Plenty of games still are sold, complete and without MTX. Just not from certain players like Ubisoft, EA (Jedi Fallen order was an exception), etc.
It's funny you mention Ghosts of Tsushima. That game was sold complete, with dozens of weapon and character skins included. They then added a free multiplayer mode with no MTX.
Also you don't have to buy the game again. The DLC is available separately for £15.99. (however they are gating the PS5 upgrade behind an Additional £9 paywall, which is pants)
Regardless the point aside from Ubisoft, EA, and some of the other greedier studios plenty of games launch complete and many even add to the game for free after launch.
Just worried that Game Pass will start to become filled with LITE versions
@themightyant - I think you're confusing me with someone else. I didn't say anything at all about Ghost of Tsushima.
@Shigurui ha I did! this is why you shouldn’t post from the pub before an England game 🏴 😂
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