Despite Borderlands 3 outgunning Gears 5 at retail – Gearbox’s sequel has outsold The Coalition’s second Gears game by more than four times (albeit across all platforms) – Gears 5 has reportedly set new records given its “free” rollout to Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.
“Thanks to the incredible support from our fans, Gears 5 […] attract[ed] over three million players in its opening weekend and set new records for Xbox Game Pass with the biggest launch week of any Xbox Game Studios title this generation,” Xbox said in a press release.
“The performance easily doubled the first week’s debut of Gears of War 4 and made Gears 5 the most-played Xbox Game Studios title in its first week since 2012’s Halo 4. First week performance includes the four-day early access period beginning Friday, September 6, which was exclusive to Gears 5 Ultimate Edition and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members.
“On the PC, Gears 5 has nearly tripled the performance of its predecessor, becoming the biggest-ever launch for Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Xbox Game Studios’ best-ever debut on Steam.”
According to Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad (thanks, GameDaily.biz), bundling the game into Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass has been “a real game-changer”.
“We’re now at a point where packaged sales in the UK for Microsoft titles are a tiny amount and no longer important,” Ahmad said on Twitter. “In its first week, Gears of War 3 sold 20x more packaged units than Gears 5 and Gears of War 4 sold 4.5x. Digital Download and Game Pass are the majority by far.
“I honestly think even Microsoft might be a bit shocked by how low packaged software is for Gears 5,” they added. “Whilst UK packaged software + full game downloads of Gears 5 are much lower than prior entries in the series, the addition of a Game Pass version has been a real game-changer.”
Of course, Gears 5 released in mid-September rather than the busier mid-October period, which may also have impacted sales.