Obsidian CEO Says Xbox Game Pass Has Redefined Success For Games



Story Highlights

  • Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart has said that Xbox Game Pass has changed his perspective on success.
  • Instead of revenue in Dollars, success is instead measured by hours spent in-game. 
  • This has resulted in the studio making their games in such a way they have something for everyone.
  • Urquhart also says the upcoming games from the studio wouldn’t be possible without Microsoft.

Since its inception, Obsidian Entertainment has made a name for itself in the role-playing genre. The studio’s expertise has only increased in the years since its acquisition from Microsoft. And the CEO has now said that the subsequent release of Obsidian’s game on the Game Pass has changed how they measure success. 

In a new interview, Feargus Urquhart said that the subscription service has changed how he views success. But, the way Obsidian operates remains the same, with no change being made to the formula. 

When we list the innovations that have changed the gaming world, the Xbox Game Pass is one of the first names that come up. Xbox and its new service have reshaped how major companies offer video games to consumers. Its unprecedented success led to an industry-wide change in the gaming subscription model. 


The Game Pass has almost 30 million subscribers, showcasing its popularity among the platforms. Microsoft’s first-party games and other major AAA releases going on the service are a big reason for this. Besides the revolutionizing consumer-friendly service, the Game Pass has also changed how we measure a title’s success. 

Obsidian Entertainment Studio Head Feargus Urquhart recently gave an interview with NME. Urquhart talked about many things going on at the studio, including the upcoming Xbox console exclusive Avowed. What caught our attention the most was his comments on the Xbox Game Pass.

The Obsidian CEO said that the service has made them reevaluate how success is measured. Instead of going by sales revenue, the studio now gives more attention to the hours spent in-game. His quote gives us more detail on this matter:

I can’t go off and spend a billion dollars and only a million hours get played on Game Pass, ‘cause people aren’t paying that much for their subscriptions.”

Hence, instead of measuring a game’s outcome in money, the studio uses the time players have spent playing it. As a result, the talk has gone from a million Dollars to a million hours. The subscription service has not made the studio change its ways, however. 

Urquhart says that Obsidian hasn’t changed how it approaches games due to Xbox Game Pass. Obsidian Entertainment still makes its popular role-playing IPs the way it did before. However, success is obviously not taken into account by sales numbers anymore.

We’ve not changed how we’ve approached our games based upon Game Pass.”

As, Obsidian is an Xbox studio, all of its games go on the Xbox Game Pass on day one. So, the more of its 29 million subscribers play the game, the bigger its triumph will be. And, the hours also need to be in millions for a title to be a success. 

It does present a problem for smaller games like Obsidian Entertainment’s Pentiment. The RPG is a short experience and isn’t really something that makes you spend a lot of time in the game world. Urquhart says there are definitely some requirements for making titles for the Xbox Game Pass. 

He says that there every title from Obsidian needs to be something for everybody. The CEO compares the service to Netflix and how even if you are looking for a specific genre, you will want something else to watch. We get some insight from the following quote:

For me personally, when I go up on Netflix if there isn’t enough Scandinavian detective dramas for me, then I’m disappointed in Netflix. But I don’t want only Scandinavian detective dramas.”

As a result, Obsidian has to be a little flexible to become a success on the Xbox Game Pass. The studio is making a “varied spread of titles” while staying true to its role-playing roots. Upcoming projects from the studio echo these sentiments. 

Obsidian is making Avowed, an Xbox Series-exclusive RPG, and The Outer Wolds 2, another exclusive for the console. Feargus Urquhart also said in the interview this would not have been possible without Microsoft’s acquisition.

Even though they would have worked on the sequel to The Outer Worlds, Avowed would not be possible without the company’s financial muscle. 

Microsoft also allows the studio to be a separate company and still get its resources as a “limited integration studio.” Hence, the partnership has been mostly beneficial for Obsidian Entertainment. If it makes Urquhart realize more dreams like his canceled Journey to The Center of The Earth lookalike, we are here for it. 

Was this article helpful?

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How could we improve this post? Please Help us. ✍

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here