The Ascent has achieved $5 million in sales during its first week thanks to a simultaneous launch on the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
Last Friday, Neon Digital launched its brand new Cyberpunk themed RPG on PC and Xbox platforms. I previewed the game and praised it for its stunning world design and punchy-feeling combat.
It seems that I wasn’t the only one who loved the look of The Ascent. Publisher Curve Digital has revealed that the game has achieved $5 million in sales. That makes it one of the largest opening weekends in the publisher’s history. It reached number one in Steam’s Global Charts, competing with AAA heavy hitters like F1 2021 and the upcoming Back 4 Blood.
“We have been overwhelmed by the positive response from the community and all our players,” says Neon Digital in a statement. “As a small team of twelve, creating The Ascent has taken a monumental effort, and we cannot express how grateful we are to everyone who has played the game and given us feedback”
The Ascent (of the charts)
The sales figures are a mighty achievement given the tiny size of the development team. It’s also impressive that these sales were achieved despite The Ascent launching straight to Xbox Game Pass on day one.
Xbox Game Pass is the subscription service that provides access to a library of games for a monthly subscription. All Xbox first party titles launch there on the day that they’re released, just as The Ascent did.
In theory, you’d have thought that launching a game straight to a subscription service might hurt its sales. However, the success of The Ascent seems to indicate that Game Pass isn’t encroaching on traditional digital sales. It may have even aided in giving the game more publicity towards potential fans.
We reached out to the publisher to clarify whether the $5million of sales revenue included money generated from Game Pass subscriptions. The reply we received confirmed that the figure only includes unit sales revenue generated solely from Xbox and PC markets. In short, that $5 million has nothing to do with Xbox Game Pass money.
Is Game Pass the way to go?
Although services like Game Pass offer a fantastically affordable way to access games, there are still arguments for purchasing game licenses outright. At the end of the day, you are technically renting Xbox games played via Game Pass. As soon as you stop paying, you lose access to them. Some players still clearly value having ownership of the games that they purchase.
While we don’t have the data to hand, I’d be interested to know how many of The Ascent’s sales were Game Pass conversion sales. The service is an excellent way to try out new games that you normally wouldn’t buy before playing. It might be that Game Pass actually boosted sales of The Ascent with players completing a full purchase after trying the game out on the subscription service.
Hopefully, The Ascent managing to launch on Game Pass without damaging traditional sales figures will encourage other publishers to follow a similar path. Sony is notably without a Game Pass equivalent with all of its first party games launching at a steep £70 price point.
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Featured Image Credit: Neon Digital