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Xbox Game Pass growth slows as Microsoft misses target

Subscription service only grew by 37% during fiscal year, compared to target of 48% and previous year of 86%

The growth of Xbox Game Pass appears to be slowing as it is emerges that Microsoft didn't attract as many new subscribers as it planned to in the previous fiscal year.

A financial filing, spotted by Axios, shows that for FY2021 (12 months ended June 30, 2021) Microsoft aimed to grow Game Pass' subscriber base by 47.79%. But the growth achieved was 37.48%.

By comparison, in FY2020 -- when the Game Pass growth metric seems to have first been introduced -- the target was 71%, and Microsoft actually grew the number of subscribers by 85.75%.

It's worth remembering 2020 was the peak pandemic year with things opening up in 2021, something Microsoft accounted for with its dramatically reduced growth target.

Microsoft is betting heavily on Game Pass, positioning it as a key entry point into its ecosystem, whether on Xbox or PC, as well as the cloud version available via browsers and the Android app.

In fact, the growth of Game Pass's subscriber base is part of the metrics behind the performance stock award for its executive officers.

The growth of Game Pass accounts for 5% of the performance metrics for this financial incentive. It was 7% last year, but Microsoft has altered the weighting for its goals as it focuses more on growing the monthly active usage of Teams.

There's still no update on how many people have subscribed to Xbox Game Pass. The latest figure released was 18 million, as of January 2021.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006