Developer reveals that their Xbox Game Pass deal allowed them to delay the game and add over a hundred hours more content

Spirittea character on bike alongside Xbox logo
(Image credit: No More Robots)

What you need to know

  • Mike Rose of No More Robots has shared a thread on Twitter exploring the effects of Xbox Game Pass on the publisher's most recent game release, Spirittea.
  • Rose shared that more than 100,000 people had played Spirittea via Xbox Game Pass in its first week after launch. 
  • Spirittea's Game Pass deal allowed the developer to delay the launch for a year and add over a hundred hours of additional content.

Mike Rose, the founder of indie game publisher No More Robots, has been a vocal supporter of games signed to his company's label appearing in Xbox Game Pass. Spirittea, a Stardew Valley meets Spirited Away-inspired game about managing a bath house for spirits, is the most recent No More Robots entry into the subscription service. Rose has taken some time post-launch to share the numbers of how Xbox Game Pass affected Spirittea's release.

In his Twitter thread, Rose calls Spirittea's launch "fascinating", due in part to where the game was most successful. Xbox and the Nintendo Switch accounted for 80% of Spirittea's revenue at launch, despite (or due in part to) the game's release as a Day One inclusion to Xbox Game Pass.  While Xbox is often vague and opaque about subscription numbers for Xbox Game Pass, Rose provided a bit of transparency by sharing that over 100,000 players had played Spirittea through the subscription service. 

Player feedback also indicated that many players would try the game on Xbox Game Pass and then purchase it on either Steam or Switch. This statement echoes comments from Xbox President Sarah Bond during her testimony in the Xbox vs. FTC hearing. Rose has also shared the sentiment in the past when other No More Robots games were released on Game Pass, including Descenders and Let's Build a Zoo.

Xbox Game Pass didn't just have an effect on Spirittea in its immediate post-launch window. Rose shared that Spirittea's solo developer, Cheesemaster Games, had originally planned a 2022 release for the bathhouse simulator. However, the agreement with Xbox to bring the game to Game Pass gave the game's sole creator the opportunity to spend another year on development. In the end, Spirittea had an additional 100+ hours of content when it finally launched this week.

Spirittea was already profitable when it launched on day one. Rose shared that Spirittea had made $1 million in sales during its first wake, with profits totaling 3 times more than the game's initial development cost. The financial success spurred on by Xbox Game Pass has given the developer the freedom to continue to support the game with post-launch content.

Spirittea was actually meant to launch in 2022, but after we got a Game Pass deal we decided hey, let's make this thing even bigger and better -- hence the delay into 2023, and the 100+ hours of content

Mike Rose, No More Robots

Rose, who has a soft spot for unusual games from small teams, is no stranger to declaring his love for Xbox Game Pass deals for the games under No More Robots' banner. He has gone so far as to say that he hopes all future No More Robots published games are added to Xbox Game Pass, or at least as many of them as Xbox will allow. Rose is not alone in his support of the subscription service model. The CEO of Rockfish Games has also spoken candidly about the benefits of Xbox Game Pass for Everspace 2. So has Round8 Studios, developers of Lies of P and Bunnyhug Games, developers of Moonglow Bay.

Cole Martin

Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.