Microsoft is considering free Xbox Game Pass with ads

Microsoft is considering making a free version of Xbox Game Pass with ads. The free version would mainly be intended for African and Asian countries. A thirty-second ad would then provide a few hours of free streaming.

Microsoft Chief Financial Officer spoke at the Wells Fargo TMT Summit about the possibility of subscriptions with ads. According to him, Game Pass Ultimate does not make sense in many countries where the number of consoles is low. “For models like Africa, or India, Southeast Asia, maybe places that aren’t console-first, you can say, ‘Hey, do you want to watch an ad for 30 seconds and then stream games for two hours?’”

Such an offer would bring in customers who would otherwise not game via Xbox. “So we can go in with our own business models and say… there are millions and millions of gamers that we could never have reached there, and now we can go in with our business models.” It is unknown whether those users will be able to play all games or whether Microsoft will limit the offer for such subscriptions.

For Microsoft, this is part of the third phase of offering game streaming. The first phase was about getting users interested, after which the second phase was about retaining users by, among other things, expanding the offering. The third phase is about maximizing turnover and this can be done in this way, Stuart thinks. It is still unknown if and when Microsoft will offer such subscriptions.