Microsoft Responds to Xbox Game Pass Backlash from Retailers

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Microsoft has responded to backlash from smaller retailers following the company’s decision to change the way the Xbox Game Pass works.

While the Xbox Game Pass offers Xbox One owners a Netflix-like selection of Xbox games, Microsoft recently sweetened the deal by announcing that every first-party Xbox game released from now on would be included in the Game Pass service. This means that games like Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2, as well as any future projects in acclaimed series like Halo or Gears of War, would be automatically included as well.

But for smaller retailers who hoped to profit off of selling those Xbox exclusives, the decision to have them bundled with the Game Pass didn’t sit well. While the Game Pass has now become a much more attractive offer for Xbox owners, there’s little incentive to buy the games individually now when you can just get them and more through the Game Pass subscription. reported that some independent retailers responded to this change by declaring that they’d no longer carry Xbox products with the retailers saying that continuing to stock the products wouldn’t be profitable thanks to the Game Pass reducing the amount of frequent customers.

From Microsoft’s perspective, the retailers who are choosing not to embrace the new version of the Xbox Game Pass may be vocal, but they’re not the majority opinion. Instead, Microsoft says that most responses have been fairly positive.

“The response to the news thus far has been positive," a spokesperson told "As we noted in our announcement, our plan is to offer ways for select retailers to assort and promote Game Pass.”

Adding to that, the spokesperson continued to say that Microsoft has been pleased so far but will continue to listen to feedback on the recent changes.

"In fact, we've been pleasantly surprised with the breadth of demand from retailers so far, and we're considering if and how we broaden our distribution plans. We welcome feedback on our plans, and will continue to evolve our plans as appropriate."

Sea of Thieves will be one of the first games to be added to the Xbox Game Pass program when it releases on March 20.