Home Gaming Gears 5 smashes Xbox Game Studios records for this generation, but retail sales are abysmal

Gears 5 smashes Xbox Game Studios records for this generation, but retail sales are abysmal

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Gears5

Gears 5 is a damned great game. Sure, the open world is lifeless, but the writing and the relationships between its main characters are far better than expected. On top of that, the action itself is superlative, making it the best Gears game in ages, and probably my favourite game in the series after the first one. Here’s what I said when I reviewed it:

“There are missteps, especially with the open worlds feeling lifeless, but Gears 5 is a more confident turn from a developer that no longer has to prove it’s capable of making a faithful Gears of War sequel. Bigger, better and more beautiful – and a bold step in the right direction for the series. The action is superlative, the writing hits humorous and emotional notes, and the number of multiplayer modes is extensive. If ever there was a reason to subscribe to Xbox’s Game Pass service, this is it.”

And boy oh boy has it been a success for Microsoft. According to Microsoft’s it’s had the biggest launch for a first party game this generation.

“Thanks to the incredible support from our fans, Gears 5 kicked off the Holiday season strong – attracting over three million players in its opening weekend and setting new records for Xbox Game Pass with the biggest launch week of any Xbox Game Studios title this generation. The performance easily doubled the first week’s debut of Gears of War 4 and made Gears 5 the most-played Xbox Game Studios title in its first week since 2012’s Halo 4.”

It is of course, worth noting that physical sales of the game have been abysmal. According to Niko Partners’ Daniel Ahmad, UK boxed sales of the game are effectively insignificant.

Instead, the vast majority of people playing the game are doing so through Game Pass which means they’re getting the game on the cheap. I suppose, given how stilted the series had become before Gear 5, it’s not surprising that people were soft on the game, opting to rather just give it a try using Game Pass. With its phenomenal success and Gears developer The Coalition having proven itself as a class act, the next Gears game may sell better. Or Game Pass will have completely cannibalised sales by then. The future sure will be interesting.

Last Updated: September 17, 2019

14 Comments

  1. G8crasha

    September 17, 2019 at 11:24

    I can see MS and other subscription game services reevaluating the benefit of offering such games on the cheap via their subscription services.

    Ubiplay+ recently informed me that The Division 2 will only be part the Ubiplay+ service for a limited time, so I assume they are hoping that you will buy the game outright when it leaves the service because you have invested so much time and effort into leveling up your character that you are obliged to purchase the title.

    Reply

    • frikkenator

      September 17, 2019 at 15:35

      I can see MS and other subscription game services reevaluating the
      benefit of offering such games on the cheap via their subscription
      services.

      They announced at E3 that all first party games will be on game pass on Xbox and Windows on launch day. I’m sure they’ve run the numbers, even if it doesn’t make sense from an outsider perspective.

      Reply

  2. Scott Lee Clayton

    September 17, 2019 at 11:24

    Retail sale will soon be a thing of the past MS knows this and is putting their Game Pass service first and foremost.

    Reply

  3. Matthew Holliday

    September 17, 2019 at 14:19

    Does that include their PC copies of the game?

    If it does, it being on Steam would explain alot, I see theres no retail option for the PC version.

    (interesting that they did that, wonder if they’ll do that for the next forza and move away from that stupid “xbox anywhere” thing)

    Reply

  4. Viper_ZA

    September 17, 2019 at 11:38

    Now if they can just get rid of the pesky scoreboard in horde mode, that will be great.

    Reply

  5. Fox1

    September 17, 2019 at 16:06

    There’s actually no value attached to MS Games these days. They are services. Excellent services at that.

    Reply

    • Son of Banana Jim

      September 17, 2019 at 16:25

      They weren’t kidding when they said they wanted to create a Netflix of games.

      Reply

  6. Matthew Holliday

    September 17, 2019 at 14:19

    Does that include their PC copies of the game?

    If it does, it being on Steam would explain alot, I see theres no retail option for the PC version.

    (interesting that they did that, wonder if they’ll do that for the next forza and move away from that stupid “xbox anywhere” thing)

    Reply

    • frikkenator

      September 17, 2019 at 15:35

      Gears 5 is available on game pass on PC as well. There’s only 3000 reviews for it on Steam so I’m not sure Steam is a massive contributor.

      Reply

      • Son of Banana Jim

        September 17, 2019 at 16:25

        I’m one of the few who bought it through steam (a) because I’m old (b) I’m not a fan of subscription services – but from what I can tell the vast majority of early adopters went the game pass route, which has definitely been bang for your buck.

        I’m purely passing on it, because I hate contracts and subscriptions, but if I wasn’t a weird old boomer, I would have signed up for that R15 a month deal.

        Reply

  7. Son of Banana Jim

    September 17, 2019 at 15:45

    I wish Microsoft were open about their profits on this because I suspect they’re not actually making a profit through game pass, but at the end of the day, it’s about market share and getting bums in seats for next gen. They’re probably banking on their live and subscription services instead of game sales and even console sales. They know they’ve lost this gen to both Nintendo and Sony, so they’re going to fight a completely different war – a bit like how Netflix changed their approach to take on Blockbuster.

    I suppose we’ll have to see what happens post 2020.

    Reply

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