Xbox Game Pass subscription growth fell short of Microsoft's target in FY21

Xbox Game Pass xCloud
Xbox Game Pass xCloud (Image credit: Jez Corden | Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft fell short of its target for Xbox Game Pass subscribers in its 2021 fiscal year.
  • The company targeted growth of 47.79% but achieved a growth of 37.45% from mid-2020 through mid-2021.
  • Microsoft has not shared the total number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers since January 2021.

Xbox Game Pass grew by 37.48% in Microsoft's 2021 fiscal year, but the gaming subscription's growth fell short of Microsoft's targets. According to a recent SEC filing, Microsoft had a target of 47.79% growth in FY21 (via Axios). Microsoft's 2021 fiscal year ended on June 30, 2021.

While Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass grew by 37.47% between mid-2020 and mid-2021, that growth rate falls significantly below the same metric between mid-2019 and mid-2020. Xbox Game Pass grew by 85.75% in FY2020. That difference is due in part to Xbox Game Pass being newer in the 2020 fiscal year, as reflected by Microsoft's lower FY21 target of 47.79%.

The growth rate of Xbox Game Pass subscribers is one of the only concrete metrics that Microsoft shares about its game subscription service. The last time Microsoft confirmed the total number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers was back in January 2021 (18 million).

The growth of Xbox Game Pass subscribers is one of the performance goals for top executives at Microsoft. If the company hits these targets over a three-year period, the executives receive additional stock.

Microsoft has added a steady stream of games to Xbox Game Pass since its launch, but many original titles are still on the horizon. Microsoft's game studio acquisitions will take time to bear fruit, which may bolster Xbox Game Pass' subscriber count.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at