Square Enix believes the decision to make Outriders available on Xbox Game Pass on the day of its release paid off in terms of player acquisition.
Outriders launched on April 1 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC and Stadia, with the title also available for Xbox Game Pass console subscribers on day one.
It is one of the highest profile third-party games so far to arrive on the service on the day of its release, and Square Enix believes the boost to the online shooter’s player count means the decision was justified.
“In regards to the response to Outriders, while there were slight issues with bugs and the like on launch, we believe it has gotten off to a good start as a new IP,” Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda said during the company’s full year financial results briefing on May 13 (the comments have only today been published in English).
“In addition, we have been pleasantly surprised as the digital sales ratio for the title have been very high, and the number of active users has also beaten our expectations.
“We believe that our decision to make Outriders available with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass as soon as the title launched also worked in our favor. (to build an installed base for the game),” he added.
On May 19, Square Enix said in a press release that Outriders “is on track to become the company’s next major franchise” following a successful launch month in terms of player numbers.
The game attracted over 3.5 million unique players between its April 1 release and May 1, according to internal data from its publisher, although it didn’t break down the figure at all or comment on Xbox Game Pass specifically at the time, so it remains unclear what percentage of the player base the service’s subscribers account for.
In an article published on VGC on Thursday, Ampere Analysis analyst Piers Harding-Rolls said certain games appear well suited to Xbox Game Pass – and Outriders ticked a lot of the boxes.
“Certain types of day one games are particularly suited to Game Pass – generally, those that benefit more from a ready-made audience compared to just competing with other premium releases in the Microsoft Store,” the analyst wrote.
“These include games based on new IP, smaller independent titles, those that are service-based and monetise in-game, online multiplayer titles, or those that might struggle to gain exposure versus the biggest AAA games.”
According to Microsoft, Outriders was the number one selling digital game on Xbox during its launch week and a top 10 selling digital game on Xbox in the month of April. ”Game Pass helped introduce millions of players to the game,” it said this month.
Microsoft recently announced a host of new titles coming to Xbox Game Pass, including some that will be available when they launch, such as Back 4 Blood, the online-only co-op shooter from Turtle Rock Studios and Warner.
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