Some pretty huge gaming news broke last week when Microsoft announced all its first party games would be included, at launch, on its Xbox Game Pass subscription service. While gamers are really excited about the prospect and potential long-term consequences of this move, another sector is pretty upset about it. In talking to GamesIndustry.biz, several independent game retailers are, in reaction to the announcement, no longer going to stock Xbox product in their stores.
Even if a retailer isn’t halting Xbox support outright, many are concerned that this is a major move towards all-digital gaming and that the threat to smaller, independently-own stores is imminent. Some store owners have been quoted as saying their Xbox business was made worthless “overnight,” while others said they feel Microsoft, despite platitudes such as sending retail owners plaques, are choosing to no longer support them in turn.
Often, especially in smaller stores, console sales are seen as necessary overhead in order to lead to software sales, which are what really keep business in motion. If the new Xbox Game Pass initiative pays off for Microsoft, it could very well have the opposite impact on retailers, which would then likely prevent them from making hardware orders.