05/09/2021 - KATIE HOLT
Games—Subscription, August 2021: EA rolls out Codemasters' racing games

Monthly round-up: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the most active service

From July to August 2021, the overall number of titles included in Ampere’s tracked games content subscription services increased by less than 1%. The Magenta Gaming catalogue grew by 7%, the largest relative increase witnessed in August 2021 but from a small base: 27% of the games added to the service were in the Action and Adventure genre. EA Play on PC saw the largest relative decrease in August 2021, with its catalogue size dropping by 8%. 40% of the games removed from EA Play on PC were over 5 years old. 

There was an overall decrease in catalogue activity from July to August 2021, with fewer games both added (-7%) and removed (-23%) from the services tracked. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate accounted for the largest share of total new games added at 27% and the largest share of total games removed at 30%. 21% of the games added to the service were published by Electronic Arts (EA): EA Play is included in a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PC. A further 21% of the titles were published by Microsoft, including three titles from the Quake franchise. Four of the games removed from the service were published by Team17, including Overcooked: Gourmet Edition and The Escapists. All of which were added to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in March 2021. 

Racing games account for 16% of titles added 

Titles in the Racing genre accounted for 16% of the total new games added in August 2021. 70% of Racing games were added to Xbox Game Pass services, 71% of which were published by EA and developed by Codemasters. This included titles from the DiRT, GRID, and F1 franchises. In February 2021, EA completed its acquisition of Codemasters—a developer specialising in racing content—to strengthen its sports portfolio. The publisher has since integrated Codemasters’ content into its subscription offerings.

Microsoft launches cloud gaming on select consoles

At Gamescom 2021, Microsoft announced that it will be bringing cloud gaming to Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One consoles. Launching holiday 2021, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will have access to over 100 cloud-enabled games on the consoles. Streaming reduces the impact of limited storage space and cuts the delay associated with downloading content. By eliminating this wait time users will be free to engage with a wider variety of games for longer periods, strengthening the likelihood of in-game or franchise spending. Online multiplayer titles face similar implications, with users able to play with friends instantly. Publishers launching new IP may opt to take advantage of cloud gaming as it makes content more accessible on launch, potentially curating a strong player base early in the game’s lifecycle.

Through cloud gaming, Xbox One owners will have access to Gen-9 (Xbox Series X/S) exclusive games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator. Providing fresh content incentivises users to remain subscribed to Xbox Game Pass services long-term, and generates additional revenue through in-app purchases; further monetising consumers who are unwilling or unable to upgrade their hardware.

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