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Microsoft's Phil Spencer insists Xbox game sales remain important even as Game Pass takes over

Strength in "diversity of business models".

Microsoft's Phil Spencer wants to assure developers that game sales still remain an important factor, even with its Xbox Game Pass subscription continuing to dominate.

Speaking with fellow Xbox exec Sarah Bond during a GDC Fireside Chat, Spencer said: "I often get asked by developers 'if I'm not in the subscription am I just not viable on Xbox anymore?'. It's absolutely not true.

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"We look at retail; people selling games, buying games... it's an important part of our [profit and loss]."

That said, Bond did state that the Xbox team is always "stunned" by just how well its Game Pass subscription does.

"We look at this data over and over again...consistently, the engagement in a game when it goes into a subscription goes up eight times above where it was before, and members actually spend 50 percent more," said Bond.

"It's really lowered the barrier for entry and created a whole new market and love for games and gaming experiences that otherwise wouldn't have existed."

Spencer added he is "incredibly proud of the role that Game Pass has been able to play, not only in [Xbox's] big first party games, but in the indie games and the great games people are playing."

Spencer additionally differentiated Xbox's business model from other mediums such as Netflix.

"This is where I sometimes contrast against other forms of media that we get compared to whether its music, whether its videos; I fundamentally believe a strength for us in the video game business is the diversity of business models and the strength of those.

"Definitely in team Xbox we invest in business models that developers are asking for and ensure those are flourishing."

The full fireside chat can be watched below.

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Earlier this month, Spencer asked that fans respect creators, and to celebrate upcoming video game releases regardless of platform.

"I think it's very often that creations can be kind of weaponised and used in battles between platforms and other things," Spencer said.

"Let's just celebrate the fact that so many great games are coming out from so many creators and realise that's such a foundation for where this industry is going to go."

Meanwhile, those wanting to read more about the industry's shift towards subscription services should check out Chris' excellent deep-dive into the future of subscription gaming.

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