It's no secret that Sony has spoken out about Xbox Game Pass and how it may not be a sustainable model. Current PlayStation boss Jim Ryan previously said that putting first-party titles into a subscription service on day one "doesn't make any sense". In a new interview, former PlayStation head Shawn Layden has now echoed those feelings.
Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, Layden expressed some scepticism in regards to Xbox Game Pass. He commented how Xbox hasn't constructed a "business model that works yet" in regards to Cloud Gaming, for example, when asked about whether Game Pass and xCloud will eventually allow Xbox to reach more than 250 million players.
"People don't buy consoles because they want more steel and plastic in the living room. People buy consoles because they want access to the content. If you can find a way to get the content into people's homes without a box, then yes, indeed. Everyone has a streaming solution of some form. Most of it is limited by whether you have a decent internet connection. And they haven't constructed the business model that works yet for that."
Layden also speculated that it may take the Xbox team a while, if ever, to recuperate their investments with Xbox Game Pass, claiming that "it's very hard to launch a $120m game on a subscription service charging $9.99 a month". Earlier in the interview, Layden pointed out that major PS5 games, in years to come, will cost in excess of $200m to make.
"You pencil it out, you're going to have to have 500 million subscribers before you start to recoup your investment. That's why right now you need to take a loss-leading position to try to grow that base. But still, if you have only 250 million consoles out there, you're not going to get to half a billion subscribers. So how do you circle that square? Nobody has figured that out yet."
It's worth noting that Sony does provide its own similar service with PlayStation Now. Despite having a wide selection of games, some of which are PlayStation 3 games that can be streamed, it's never reached the success of Xbox Game Pass. A large part of that is due to Microsoft's strategy of pushing huge titles onto the service on day one.
That being said, the creator of God of War, David Jaffe, commented earlier this year on how PlayStation is working to "counterpunch Game Pass". Jim Ryan also stated last year that there is "news to come" in retaliation towards the service. We're still yet to find out what this might be, but it will be interesting to see when it comes to light.
Do you agree with Shawn Layden's comments about Xbox Game Pass? Let us know in the comments below.