‘Gears 5,’ part of Xbox Game Pass, reports 3 million players over launch weekend

After ‘Gears 5’ (pictured) in 2019, Xbox Game Studios is preparing ‘Halo Infinite’ for late 2020. — Picture from Xbox Game Studios via AFP-Relaxnews
After ‘Gears 5’ (pictured) in 2019, Xbox Game Studios is preparing ‘Halo Infinite’ for late 2020. — Picture from Xbox Game Studios via AFP-Relaxnews

LOS ANGELES, Sept 17 — The latest iteration of Xbox’s Gears of War franchise welcomed more than three million players over the course of its first weekend, though Microsoft’s gaming division didn’t specify how many came through its Xbox Game Pass scheme.

Whether purchased at retail, as a digital download, or accessed through the Xbox Game Pass subscription, Gears 5 attracted over three million players in its opening weekend, per Microsoft video game division Xbox.

Granted a wide release on September 10, the sci-fi action game was well received at review and innovated on the 13-year-old franchise, adding vehicles and an open-world approach to the sturdy third-person cover shooter.

Xbox further detailed that, in its first week, Gears 5 was the most-played Xbox Game Studios title since 2012’s Halo 4.

That first week period includes a four-day early access period beginning on September 6, when a more expensive Gears 5 Ultimate Edition was launched.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Gears 5 marks the first time that a Gears of War title was included in subscription service Xbox Game Pass, and it’s arguably the scheme’s highest profile and best-received launch-day title.

Xbox did not define how many of those three million players came to Gears 5 through Xbox Game Pass.

However, in the UK, boxed copies of Gears 5 sold 25 per cent of 2016’s Gears of War 4 equivalent launch numbers, per UKIE and GfK tracking; meanwhile, Xbox said that the total number of first-week Gears 5 players was nearly double that of its predecessor.

Adding to its list of achievements, Gears 5 was the biggest-ever Xbox Game Pass launch for Windows 10 PCs, after Xbox Game Pass began including Windows 10 computers in June 2019.

It was similarly the biggest Xbox Game Studios debut on PC gaming platform Steam, where Gears 5 was sold as a US$59 (RM250) standalone. (Previously, top-tier Xbox titles funnelled PC gamers over to the Microsoft and Xbox retail ecosystem.)

In contrast to the Gears 5 retail price, the Xbox Game Pass programme officially costs US$10 per month and has been made available for US$1 per month as part of an ongoing promotion.

The scheme, which Xbox presents as a “Netflix for games,” has been received as a robust response to Sony’s Instant Game Collection for PlayStation Plus members; this week, Apple launches its own curated equivalent, Apple Arcade.

Since June, customers have also been able to combine Xbox Game Pass with Xbox One console online multiplayer scheme Xbox Live Gold and Windows 10 accessibility to form Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

In the case of Gears 5, XGP Ultimate members also gain access to the game’s Ultimate Edition.

A 30-day progression booster within the Ultimate Edition encourages players to maintain focus on Gears 5 through the release of fellow high-profile action titles Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, The Outer Worlds and Destiny 2: Shadowkeep. — AFP-Relaxnews

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