Microsoft stops offering $1 Xbox Game Pass trial to pursue other promotions

The company says it's "evaluating different marketing promotions for new members in the future"

New Xbox Game Pass subscribers can no longer get their first month for $1.

In a statement to The Verge, Kari Perez, head of global communications at Xbox, confirmed that the introductory offer has been axed. She says Xbox is instead “evaluating different marketing promotions for new members in the future.”

It’s a notable move from the company, which has touted the low entry cost for years in its promotion of the service. As it stands, though, it’s unclear what will take its place.

One possibility is the Game Pass Friends & Family plan that Xbox has been testing in a handful of markets, including Ireland, South Africa and Chile. In Ireland, a single monthly fee of €21.99 (about $32.50 CAD) allows up to four people to share one Game Pass membership. While it’s unclear exactly what Perez was referring to when she mentioned “different marketing promotions,” it’s possible that the removal of the $1 introductory offer could have been done to expand the Friends & Family plan to other markets.

For now, though, the only Game Pass options are console and PC subscriptions ($11.99/month each) or an Ultimate membership ($16.99/month). Ultimate includes Game Pass for both console and PC, as well as EA Play, Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Cloud Gaming.

In any case, Game Pass is a huge part of Microsoft’s gaming strategy. Since 2018, the company has been offering all of its first-party titles on the service on day one, including Gears 5, Halo Infinite and Hi-Fi Rush. It also intends to bring Activision Blizzard games like Call of Duty to Game Pass should its acquisition of the publishing giant be approved.

While Microsoft doesn’t often reveal how well Game Pass is performing, it admitted in U.K. filings from last year pertaining to the Activision Blizzard deal that the service had missed its subscriber target for two consecutive years. However, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in October that Game Pass is still profitable, even as growth has slowed on console. In its own U.K. filings attempting in November to block the Activision Blizzard acquisition, Sony estimated that there are 29 million Game Pass subscribers.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen how new promotions, as well as upcoming major titles like Bethesda’s Redfall (May 2nd) and Starfield (September 6th), might help expand the service’s subscriber base.

Image credit: Xbox

Source: The Verge