Analysis

Gears 5 has landed the coveted title as the best launch game for an Xbox Game Studio effort, shattering previous Microsoft records for its current-generation console and PC. During its launch weekend, cover shooter Gears 5 drew in a staggering three million players.

In comparison, Gears 5 boasted twice as many players as the launch week of The Coalition’s previous entry in the long-running franchise and flying past previous exclusives of note Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 4, both capping out at 2 million players for their respective debut weeks.

Much of the activity emanated from Microsoft’s own Xbox Game Pass platform where players pay a monthly subscription for a growing catalog  of games and day-one access to the latest releases. Gears 5 has driven up adoption rates for the service.

Steam Results Aren’t Quite So Spectacular

The picture isn’t so clear cut, though. With a simultaneous release on PC via the Steam digital storefront, the numbers don’t quite reflect those of the Microsoft Xbox and PC platforms. Demands for Microsoft to port Xbox exclusives to PC on all storefronts don’t appear to have mustered up the returns the company expected, despite assumptions that there was an appetite for them.

The highest concurrent player figure sits at a comparatively unimpressive 10,000 players. Steam suggests sales are somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 copies. In comparison to the Xbox Game Pass release and its three million players, 10,000 doesn’t even land Gears 5 in the top 30 most-played games over on Steam.

In a bizarre twist, the numbers make it Microsoft’s best Steam launch for an Xbox Game Studios title.

Gears 5 Shatters Xbox Records, Pales In Comparison To PlayStation Exclusives
Source: Gears 5/The Coalition

Gears 5 In The Context of Console Exclusives

If we look at how the game stacks up to rival PlayStation exclusives – things don’t look too peachy. God of War, arguably among the best PlayStation 4 exclusives from this generation, sold over 3.4 million copies in the first three days after release.

Now, compared to Gears 5 purported 3 million players, this doesn’t seem like much. But we have to remember that many of the gamers playing are doing so via a monthly subscription rather than buying the game outright.

By way of example, Gears 5 sold roughly 25% less hard copies that Gears of War 4 as players opted for the digital subscription service route to play the game.

They are buying into a steady stream of games rather than a single title. In terms of actual sales, Gears 5 was outclassed by NBA 2K20 and even stalwart 6-year-old Grand Theft Auto V last week for the EMEAA region.

Additionally, Gears 5 widens the pool of potential players considerably as its available on both PC and Xbox One, while God of War only on PlayStation 4.

With these factors in mind, God of War’s launch massively overshadows Gears 5 and firmly maps out how Sony has dominated the exclusive game this generation despite Microsoft’s best efforts.

Last modified (UTC): September 17, 2019 2:33 PM

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