Xbox Game Pass can help fund big budget single-player games, Microsoft says

As the games industry mulls the future of big-budget single-player-only games, Microsoft has suggested one way companies such as itself could fund these types of projects in the future: subscriptions to services such as Xbox Games Pass.

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Your ticket to more, new single-player games?

Speaking to Gamespot, Xbox first-party game publishing boss Shannon Loftis suggested subscription fees could help fund new single-player projects.

Microsoft’s all-you-can-play subscription service, Xbox Games Pass, is priced at 7.99/$9.99 a month and offers access to more than 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games.

Revenue from subscriptions such as this, Loftis said, “helps us put games like that [which are single-player focused] in the market over time.”

“I don’t think that it’s dead per se,” Loftis continued. “I don’t think that there is ever going to be a time when there aren’t single-player, story-based games.

“I do think the economics of taking a single-player game and telling a very high fidelity multi-hour story get a little more complicated. Gamers want higher fidelity and they want higher resolution graphics.”

The discussion around the future of single-player games and how they are funded has hit the headlines in recent weeks due to the closure of Visceral Games and the cancellation of its single-player-focused Star Wars game. EA suggested the closure was at least in part due to the changing economics of the games industry – essentially, that single-player games made less money.

Another factor is the rising trend of including loot boxes within games such as Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Forza 7 and Star Wars: Battlefront 2.

Loot boxes have become more prevalent because they make money. Meanwhile, single-player games feel like a dying breed because they are harder to monetise after they have been launched.

Microsoft has struggled with its big budget single-player-focused games this generation. Xbox One exclusives such as Recore, Sunset Overdrive and Quantum Break failed to set tills ringing – don’t expect either to get a sequel any time soon. Sony has fared better, meanwhile. PS4 exclusive The Order: 1666 flopped, but Horizon: Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy as well Bloodborne were smash hits.

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