The Gears of War franchise keeps turning, as Microsoft has declared Gears 5 "the biggest launch week of any Xbox Game Studios title this generation," saying that more than three million players played in its opening week.
Those numbers were bolstered by the game's inclusion in the Xbox Game Pass subscription service, with Game Pass Ultimate subscribers able to play starting September 6 and all Game Pass subscribers able to play the game for free at the September 10 launch for those who purchased the retail or digital game on its own, September 10.
The previous highwater mark for Game Pass launches (at least among titles Microsoft announced numbers for) had been shared by Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 4, even of which saw 2 million players in their respective launch weeks last year.
Microsoft said Gears 5's first-week player base doubled that of Gears of War 4 in 2016, and was the largest for any Xbox Game Studios title since Halo 4 in 2012. However, Gears 5's first-week numbers also include the extra four-day early access period granted to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.
Microsoft also added that Gears 5 has almost tripled Gears of War 4's numbers on PC, though it's worth noting that unlike its predecessor, Gears 5 was made available on Steam. Still, Microsoft added that Gears 5 enjoyed Xbox Game Studios' best-ever launch on Steam, and the biggest launch for Xbox Game Pass for PC as well.
While Gears 5 has been a prominent selling point for Game Pass, its popularity on the subscription service may be hurting its numbers for traditional distribution channels. In the UK, Gears 5 only sold a quarter of the boxed copies Gears of War 4 managed at launch and the game only managed seventh place in the EMEAA charts for the week.