Xbox Game Pass Strengthens Sports Offering

    • Xbox Game Pass has been key to Microsoft's recent success.
    • The service with 18 million active users has put sports games front and center.

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Microsoft’s video game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, which offers over 100 games for $9.99 or $14.99 per month, has been key to Microsoft’s recent success.

“Digital capability is key to both resilience and growth,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on a company earnings call.

The tech giant surpassed $5 billion in quarterly gaming revenue for the first time for the quarter that ended on Dec. 31, up 51% over the prior year. Xbox Game Pass has over 18 million active users and stands to add more as it puts sports games front and center.

Former PlayStation exclusive “MLB The Show” is coming to Xbox consoles for the first time on April 20 as the league aims to extend the franchise’s reach. The 2021 edition joins Game Pass on its release day, while PlayStation 5 gamers’ only option is to shell out $70 for it.

2K-published “NBA 2K21” has been on Game Pass since March, and the service began bundling EA Play into its higher-priced Ultimate tier subscription in November. EA Play offers a library of top Electronic Arts games including titles across the company’s NFL, FIFA, NHL, and UFC series. EA’s service now has 13 million players across all video game platforms.

When “MLB The Show 21” arrives, every major U.S. sports league will be represented on Xbox Game Pass.

Last year’s version of “MLB The Show” was the fastest-selling title in the franchise’s history and was ranked the fifth-best-selling game of 2020, per The NPD Group. Since 2017, the game has sold more than one million units each year.