[email protected] director Chris Charla has been speaking to GamesIndustry.biz as part of a new interview this week, and some of his comments about Xbox Game Pass are particularly interesting, including whether he feels the service is "disruptive" to the games business or not.
Long story short, he doesn't think that. Charla says that it's perfectly natural and healthy for business people to be worried about the growth of subscription services, but he feels Game Pass has been more "additive" than "disruptive".
"I wouldn't describe it as disruptive, because I don't think it is in the way that like Uber came in and got rid of all the taxis in that industry...."
"It's additive. People still buy a lot of games and they still buy a lot of games on Xbox. They buy games through Game Pass at a discount, which is what they get as members. And so I don't think Game Pass has been a disruptive business model, it's been additive in a really positive way."
Chris also used the arrival of free-to-play games on consoles as an example, acknowledging that a lot of people thought it was going to "completely change everything" and all games would become free, but that ultimately didn't happen. Nevertheless, he says those concerns were "valid, rational, normal, and healthy".
The question is, will Xbox Game Pass be able to remain additive in the future? Chris is full of optimism about this, mentioning in the interview that he's "super hopeful" as the engagement levels of Game Pass are still extremely high:
"We see Game Pass players play more games, engage with more games in more genres than they've ever engaged with. Those kind-of metrics is what we saw at the beginning of Game Pass, and every time we look we still see it. So yeah, I remain super hopeful about it."
"When we see developers coming to us and talking to us about second, third, fourth and fifth games in Game Pass, it's clearly working for them. That's good extrinsic validation about the value of the programme."
There are plenty of other interesting quotes from Chris in the interview, such as the importance of Game Pass delivering a high-quality and diverse offering, as well as how third-party titles will remain essential to Xbox even after the Activision Blizzard acquisition (potentially) goes through, so the full thing is well worth a read if you're interested!