Rare's Sea of Thieves beat its three month sales target in a single day, and Xbox Game Pass played a significant role.
Speaking to USGamer, Rare producer Joe Neate said that Sea of Thieves launching on Microsoft's subscription service was a key factor in its early success.
"We beat all of our sales numbers that we had planned," he said. "We had a target to hit by the end of June, which we hit in day one of sales. It was fascinating because we were the first [Xbox first-party offered day one on Game Pass]. And, like, for the most part you kind of never want to be the first. You want to learn from someone else on things like that."
While Neate wouldn't discuss that target in specific detail, we know that Sea of Thieves had two million players one week after release.
In particular, a free ten-day trial for Game Pass served both the game and the service very well. According to Neate, there was a "really high conversion rate" for people who tried the game through the trial and either bought the game or paid for Game Pass.
Subscription services and the apparently inevitable rise of game streaming were running themes at this year's E3. We discussed the trend with industry analysts - you can read the report here.