Xbox Game Pass BoothSource: Matt Brown / Windows Central

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has reported its FY21 Q2 earnings, with a 51% year-over-year increase in gaming revenue, including 40% gains around Xbox content and services.
  • Xbox Game Pass has now hit over 18 million subscribers, while its Xbox Live gaming network now has over 100 million monthly active users.

Xbox Game Pass has now hit 18 million subscribers, stated Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, speaking on its FY21 Q2 earnings call. Microsoft's Xbox Live gaming network also hits a new milestone, with over 100 million monthly active users (MAUs) across all platforms.

Microsoft outlined its second-quarter financials on Tuesday, including continued success for its Xbox brand, with gaming revenue increasing 51% year-over-year. High demand for its latest gaming consoles, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, saw hardware revenue almost double with 86% growth. Xbox content and services also surged 40%, attributed to its games and subscriptions, including Xbox Game Pass.

It's the third time Microsoft has talked numbers around Xbox Game Pass, its Netflix-style gaming subscription at the heart of its content and services portfolio. It almost doubles the first reported Xbox Game Pass back figures from its FY20 Q3 earnings, previously surpassing 10 million users across Xbox and PC. It also reported 90 million Xbox Live MAUs back in April, which represents all users, rather than exclusively paying Xbox Live Gold subscribers.

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Xbox Game Pass remains increasingly fundamental to Microsoft's gaming vision, available across Xbox consoles, Windows PCs, and mobile devices through cloud streaming. While its standalone Xbox Game Pass subscription grants access to hundreds of titles on Xbox and PC from $10, its all-inclusive $15 Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tier also includes its new cloud gaming platform.

Microsoft has made bold investments in its Xbox Game Pass offerings, with regular promotions to upgrade its existing Xbox Live Gold subscribers and opportunities to trial the service for $1. Various partnerships have similarly bolstered that value, with EA Play, Spotify, and Disney+ all featured for Ultimate-tier users.

The announcement follows recently proposed changes to Xbox Live Gold membership, outlining plans to double pricing for the service, primarily granting access to online multiplayer. It later reverted this following widespread criticism, a move interpreted as an opportunity to migrate users to its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate plan.