Microsoft reportedly earned US $2.9 billion from Xbox Game Pass in 2021

A new report from Brazil's CADE has seemingly confirmed the console subscription revenue for Xbox Game Pass in 2021.
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Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) has just concluded its investigation and assessment of Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, with the final reports now being released to the public. As the investigation has progressed, several key stats about Microsoft have emerged – including the total number of Xbox One consoles sold in the last generation, compared to Sony’s PlayStation 4 – with the latest stats being rather surprising. While Microsoft consoles sales are unimpressive, the company is still seeing massive success via Xbox Game Pass.

According to the CADE report, Xbox Game Pass generated US $2.9 billion via console subscriptions only in 2021 – a fact spotted by reporters at Tweaktown.

This is a sizeable portion of the total Xbox revenue, which is noted as US $16.28 billion for 2021. As Tweaktown notes, this means around 18% of Microsoft’s total Xbox revenue comes from Xbox Game Pass, a service which is impressively lucrative.

Read: Xbox One reportedly sold only half as many units as PS4 in its lifetime

It’s not hard to see how this success came about. Xbox Game Pass has proved to be incredibly popular since it launched, with subscriber numbers reportedly around the 15-18 million mark, as of early 2022. The service provides a strong catalog of on-demand games to play, a number of solid new releases are added each month, and content is swapped out often – encouraging an active subscription.

With many first-party, blockbuster Xbox games also being available day one on the service, it’s an attractive prospect for players – and this devotion is reflected in the revenue totals.

It’s unclear how much of the subscription revenue is shared with the developers of the games on offer, but it’s likely at least a portion of these funds are funnelled back into the development industry.

As noted by Tweaktown, it’s important to keep in mind that PC Game Pass revenue is not included in this figure, and likely contributes to a much greater total for Game Pass overall. Regardless, it’s an impressive result, and one that effectively proves game subscriptions are here to stay.

Elsewhere, the CADE report also noted that Nintendo Switch Online brought in US $932 million in revenue in 2021, while EA Play (now part of Xbox Game Pass) garnered US $356 million in the same period.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.