The last time I spoke with ID@Xbox Director Chris Charla it was PAX Aus 2018 and the 1000th game had been released on the platform. Fast forward to 2019 and we’re sitting down again to chat about ID@Xbox and the incredible success indie games have been seeing on Xbox One. Part of that success, Charla tells me, is due to Xbox Game Pass.
“The biggest change from last year is just how much success developers are having being part of Xbox Game Pass on both console and PC,” he said. Wondering whether this is due to the exposure a game can get on Xbox Game Pass, he said that’s just one small aspect.
“Exposure has been great for players because they know they’re getting to discover all of these games that they might not have seen otherwise,” he explained. “Players can take a risk, well I don’t want to say risk, but they can download a bunch of games they otherwise wouldn’t have played at no additional cost.”
Indie games, while growing in prestige every day, can still be looked down on by large groups of gamers. Even when indie games are receiving great press and have an interesting USP it can be hard to get sales, even at reduced prices. Charla told me that ID@Xbox and Xbox Games Pass help to remove this barrier.
There’s no risk other than the download and because the gamers know we curate the game in the programme, they know the game is going to be good.
We’re seeing that lots of games are getting tonnes of attention that they might not have otherwise. Really good games and devs are benefitting from it and they’re seeing the benefit on Xbox in terms of increased sales.
Anecdotally, we’re hearing that developers are seeing increased sales on other platforms thanks to Xbox Game Pass.
Word of mouth is a great marketing tool and through Xbox Game Pass, games are getting even more word of mouth than they might have normally.
Charla said, “Xbox players are playing the game, tweeting about it, telling their friends and then all of a sudden people are searching for it on Game Pass and on other platforms.”
Charla is really proud and happy that ID@Xbox and Xbox Game Pass are a success on Microsoft’s platforms but also that it’s helping the industry is healthy and independent. However, there are some difficulties, though Charla says it’s a good problem to have and that’s the curation of ID@Xbox and Game Pass.
Not every game can make the cut, even the really great ones, so, Charla told me, “there are some hard cuts.”
We have a lot of discussions and there are always champions for some games but we have to make tough decisions. That’s actually kind of a bummer part of the job but we can’t say yes to everything.
One ID@Xbox game that Charla was excited about when we spoke was Afterparty. Having now launched, Afterparty is now available through Xbox Game Pass and is a great demonstration of the power of Game Pass and ID@Xbox working together.
Thanks to Chris Charla for his time.