Game Pass’ value proposition from a consumer’s perspective has undeniable appeal, and from day one releases to a growing catalog of older titles, the subscription service’s catalog continues to grow increasingly attractive. One area where the service’s model has been often questioned, however, is how it impacts the games and their commercial performances. While many developers have spoken frequently about how Game Pass encourages greater experimentation and also increases exposure for games, there have also been a few who have seen sales being negatively impacted due to availability on the service.
One of those, it turns out, is Dino Patti, co-founder of Jumpship. The studio launched its sci-fi adventure game Somerville for Xbox and PC last year and was available via Game Pass right out the gate, and while Patti believes Jumpship “did a pretty good deal” with Microsoft, he says Somerville’s sales were affected by it nonetheless. According to Patti, the conventional model of making a full game and selling it for an up front price is still very much the way forward.
“We did a pretty good deal,” he said in an interview with Videogames.si. “I also think it hurts sales. Because a lot of people just go in and try it and they don’t invest. If they don’t like the first 10 minutes? That’s it. Also, if you don’t make the first 10 minutes amazing, maybe it’s also a problem. I think [Game Pass] is okay. It’s not my favorite. My favorite is the old premium model where I sell you on some video, on big images, and earn your $30. And then after that, I have to deliver. I don’t need to get money out of you later.”
Interestingly enough, Microsoft itself has recently stated that games’ sales end up getting significantly impacted if they are also available on Game Pass. In documents submitted by the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority earlier this year amidst its investigation of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard (which it has since blocked), the regulatory body said that Microsoft and Activision had both submitted that sales are “severely cannibalized” by Game Pass.
Earlier this year, Tunic publisher Finji expressed similar concerns, stating that for smaller developers, the Game Pass model can “go either way” and is “both awesome and terrifying”.
Somerville is available on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. Read our review of the game through here.