Former Microsoft executive Ed Fries has spoken about Xbox Game Pass, saying that its potential impact on gaming scares him.
In an interview with Xbox Expansion Pass (via VGC), Fries spoke about Game Pass, comparing the service to Spotify:
“The one thing that they’re doing that makes me nervous is Game Pass. Game Pass scares me because there’s a somewhat analogous thing called Spotify that was created for the music business. When Spotify took off it destroyed the music business, it literally cut the annual revenue of the music business in half. It’s made it so people just don’t buy songs anymore.”
Fries then went on to caution on the potential impact that subscription services may have on gaming. “So we have to be careful we don’t create the same system in the game business. These markets are more fragile than people realise. I saw the games industry destroy itself in the early 80s.”
“So Game Pass makes me nervous. As a customer, I love it. I love Spotify as a customer: I have all the songs I’d ever want… it’s a great deal as a customer. But it isn’t necessarily great for the industry.”
It is worth taking Fries’ comments with a pinch of salt, however. Subscriptions still only impact a very relatively small chunk of the market. As Fries himself said, “The percentage of all games that are on Game Pass is still tiny, and there are a lot of games.” And there is some question over whether Spotify did, in fact, cut the music industry in half. I thought piracy did that?