How Xbox Game Pass is still beneficial for independent developers

Xbox Game Pass has been a revolutionary service since its inception on the global stage. Microsoft has modeled its subscription service on the likes of Netflix, where users don’t have to buy individual games. Instead, they can access a vast library of titles at an affordable monthly cost. As far as gaming is concerned, it features all of the Xbox’s own exclusives, along with other AAA titles. Lately, the platform has become a great outlet for indie game developers to showcase their work. With the recent addition of Cooking Simulator, it has been revealed that the offerings are quite strong for these developers, financially speaking.

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Some circles often think that the inclusion in Xbox Game Pass can affect the potential earnings of the developers. Obviously, this thought process stems from the simple fact that users do not have to purchase the games as long as they are subscribed to the service. Speculation about how much Microsoft pays developers has always been a mystery, but now some know the numbers. Indie game acquisition rate is pretty good, in the larger scheme of things.

Cooking Simulator numbers show how Xbox Game Pass benefits independent developers

What developers get for bringing their games to Xbox Game Pass has always been a topic of intrigue for many. It is widely accepted that the amount varies according to specific parameters, which means that no two games have the same fees.

For example, Cooking Simulator was recently available on both platforms covered by Game Pass. According to sources, the developers at Big Cheese Studio received $600,000 from the deal. This is according to the developer presentation and will represent a substantial amount, no less.

The amount is approximately 22% of the total annual income in the last fiscal year. While it may not sound like much, the actual effect is much greater, considering the game’s decline in popularity. When the game initially launched in 2019, it enjoyed a peak number of around 3,500 on Steam.

Today the story is quite different with only around 250 concurrent players being the maximum number on Steam. Of course, there should be a fair amount of players on consoles not found. However, it doesn’t take much science to assume that finances in the current fiscal year will be lower than last year. Therefore, receiving a large amount of cash is not a bad thing for independent developers, who can now use it for future video game development.

Cooking Simulator is not the only example, as several independent developers have spoken about the different benefits they get from putting their game on Xbox Game Pass. Trek to Yomi is another good example that developer Devolver Digital put up as a day one deal.

It’s not just finances that benefit developers. Independent game developers usually don’t have a big budget for promoting their games. Xbox Game Pass provides the perfect platform for gamers to get acquainted with the little gems of the video game industry. They can then purchase DLC or other additional content, which can be useful to developers.

There is growing evidence that Game Pass is having a positive effect on the industry. Sales of Descenders quadrupled on Xbox after its introduction. Paradox Interactive noted in earnings that some of its strong cash flow this quarter was directly related to the Game Pass partnership with MS.

Whether there will be a way to see how much other developers are getting paid for their games remains to be seen. AAA titles are likely to fetch a much higher price tag, while newer releases will also command better rates.

However, there is a conducive ecosystem underneath all the finances and numbers. Some may call the relationship symbiotic because the presence of top indie games on Xbox Game Pass has increased recently. While they may not be heavyweights compared to AAA games, the service has directly contributed to creating more underappreciated gems.

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