Gears 5 attracts biggest launch for Xbox Game Studios franchise in seven years

The Coalition sets new records for latest installment in popular franchise, but underlying success may well be Xbox Game Pass.

Gears 5 has overcome a serious hump for Xbox Game Studios, becoming the biggest current generation launch that this generation has seen, in addition to the launch being the most successful that XGS has seen in seven years. 

The fifth numbered game in the franchise, which started back in 2006 on Xbox 360, has welcomed 3 million players since it arrived on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

The game “easily doubled” the first-week performance of 2016’s Gears of War 4, also becoming the most-played first-party Xbox game since the 2012 launch of Halo 4 on Xbox 360, Microsoft added. On PC alone, it tripled the performance of Gears 4 to become the biggest launch for Xbox Game Pass for PC since its beta launch this past summer at E3, as well as the best ever debut for an Xbox Game Studios title on Steam.

The key pillar for Gears 5’s success may well be the introduction of Xbox Game Pass and the continued rise of digital.

In a thread on Twitter, Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad said the game sold significantly less as a boxed game in the UK than it did digitally or as part of Xbox Game Pass. 2011’s Gears of War 3 sold 20 times more copies and Gears of War 4 sold four and a half times more copies than Gears 5

As Ahmad pointed out a few days earlier, Gears 5 seems to be the game Microsoft has been waiting for in regards to driving home the main selling point of what Game Pass is about: allowing players to play the latest first-party games at an accessible entry point. As a result, Gears 5 dethroned Fortnite as the most played Xbox game for the first time in a year.

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Johnny Cullen is a freelance writer and author from Derry, Northern Ireland who has written for Eurogamer, VG247, Official PlayStation Magazine UK, and so many more since July 2009. Come @ him about The Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid 3, Jonsi and Alex, or the Four Horsewomen of WWE on Twitter @JohnnyCullen.