During one exchange, Zelnick said to Spencer: “You’ve got about 30 million subscribers, something like that?”
Spencer then didn’t deny that was the case, only saying that “the last public number we announced was 18 million”.
It was unclear from the exchange if Zelnick had inadvertently revealed a Microsoft secret, was being playful about the success of the service (he’s something of a subscription sceptic), or was simply pulling a number out of his pocket that could be wide of the mark.
VGC has asked Microsoft for comment on this story.
But given that Xbox Game Pass launched in June 2017 and had attracted 18 million subscribers as of January 2021, the suggestion that it has gained another 12 million so far this year appears fanciful.
Microsoft confirmed this week that it was cutting the price of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold subscriptions in Chile, Hong Kong and Israel “based on local market conditions”.
At the time, well informed VentureBeat reporter Jeff Grubb claimed Xbox Game Pass now has approximately 20 million subscribers.
During Wednesday’s event, Spencer also told The Wrap that console shortages will continue into 2022.
He said a shortage of chips wasn’t the only thing stopping the company getting as many Xbox Series X/S consoles onto store shelves as it would like.
“I think it’s probably too isolated to talk about it as just a chip problem,” Spencer said. “When I think about, what does it mean to get the parts necessary to build a console today, and then get it to the markets where the demand is, there are multiple kind of pinch points in that process.
“And I think regretfully it’s going to be with us for months and months, definitely through the end of this calendar year and into the next calendar year.”