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GameStop Is Still Important To Microsoft, Will Sell Xbox Game Pass Memberships

Microsoft confirms a partnership with the retailer.


After Microsoft announced a new Xbox One digital game subscription service yesterday, retailer GameStop's stock value tanked, dropping by 8 percent. Now, Microsoft has confirmed that it is working with the store to offer Xbox Game Pass to shoppers, presumably in the form of prepaid subscription cards. GameStop already sells prepaid Xbox Live cards, and others from different companies.

"We've been extremely happy with the response to yesterday's announcement of Xbox Game Pass," Xbox marketing executive Mike Nichols told BusinessInsider. "We also know that our fans look for a variety of ways to purchase and try games and services, and I'm happy to announce that we are working with retail partners, such as GameStop, on offering Xbox Game Pass to their customers. We'll have more details to share in the future."

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Xbox Game Pass ($15/month) is theoretically a threat to GameStop in that it provides access to an ever-updating catalog of digital games that subscribers never actually own and thus cannot trade in. The popularity of the service will likely depend on the quality of the offerings. There will be 100-plus Xbox One games and backwards-compatible Xbox 360 games from a number of genres in the library.

There are more than 10 confirmed titles already, including Halo 5, Fable III, and Payday 2--you can see all the confirmed games so far here.

GameStop's shares have rebounded slightly today following yesterday's dropoff.

GameStop shares also took a hit more than two years ago when EA announced its EA Access subscription service, which is very similar in nature to Xbox Game Pass. While brick-and-mortar retailers like GameStop are still important to Microsoft and others, the digital sector is definitely on the rise.

GameStop is preparing for a more digital-centric future. By 2019, GameStop is expecting 50 percent of its total revenue to come from non-physical sources.

A beta version of Xbox Game Pass is currently available on Xbox One for testers; the service is expected to launch for all Xbox One owners this spring, though a specific date has not been announced.

Xbox Game Pass does not impact the Games With Gold program, while we've also learned that memberships will only be sold on a monthly basis.

For lots more on Xbox Game Pass, check out GameSpot's previous coverage here.

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