More than half of the Sea of Thieves players were playing using the Xbox Game Pass in the first month

Microsoft has been loudly and proudly proclaiming the success of Rare’s Sea of Thieves. It was quickly announced after launch that Sea of Thieves players had topped 2 million, without Xbox Game Pass. 

Microsoft also proudly called Sea of Thieves the “fastest-selling first-party new IP of this generation.”

However, not everything has been golden for Sea of Thieves. Mixed reviews, a perceived lack of content and some odd decisions by Rare have made Sea of Thieves future uncertain.

It seems now that much of Sea of Thieves early success is due to the Xbox Game Pass and the seas are starting to look stormy.

Sea of Thieves Players

According to research by videogame market intelligence firm SuperDataResearch, of the 2 million players taking part in Sea of Thieves during the launch month, more than half were doing so as part of the Xbox Game Pass trial.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the player base has shrunk significantly, it does cast some doubts about the longevity of Sea of Thieves. As a game that lives on dies by the number of people playing. According to SuperDataResearch;

Sea of Thieves has early success but with a caveat. Sea of Thieves had 1.7 million monthly active users on console and 283,000 on PC during its launch month.

However – more than half of these users obtained the game through the limited free trial offered as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. This leaves some unanswered questions concerning the long-term success of the title.

If the Sea of Thieves player numbers drops significantly, the game could find itself victim of a positive feedback loop resulting in players leaving the game in droves.

There’s no denying that Sea of Thieves was a huge success for Microsoft and Rare in terms of launch, it’s just the future of the title that remains uncertain. If more than half of the Sea of Thieves players in the first month were Xbox Game Pass trial users, there’s a significant possibility that many of them didn’t purchase the game after the trial expired if they didn’t purchase a subscription.

Abandon Ship!

Sea of Thieves has been an interesting game for Rare and Microsoft and is certainly something to closely watch. As Rare pushes forward with content drops and continues to work with the community it may find a steady player base who remain engaged.

If, however, Sea of Thieves’ players aren’t engaged, it could go down a similar path as that of Destiny 2. The latter title started out as an enormous success at launch but has steadily declined week on week as Bungie struggles to keep players engaged.

This is a serious risk for Sea of Thieves and it’s sure to be one that Rare and Microsoft are keen to avoid.

Sea of Thieves is available for PC and Xbox One.

Leo Stevenson
Leo Stevenson
I've been playing games for the past 27 years and have been writing for almost as long. Combining two passions in the way I'm able is a true privilege. PowerUp! is a labour of love and one I am so excited to share.

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