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Phil Spencer: Gears 5 Sold Better Than Gears 4

Phil Spencer: Gears 5 Sold Better Than Gears 4 - Sales

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 April 2020 / 8,069 Views

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer speaking with Eurogamer revealed Gears 5 sold better than Gears of War 4. He said that having the game on Game Pass is about giving gamers a choice on how they want to buy and play the game.

"Gears 5 sold well for us," said Spencer. "It sold better than Gears 4. And we feel good about it. If people want to make the choice of buying Gears, that's an option we want to give them. I'm not trying to funnel everybody who wants to play Gears into the subscription. It's about giving gamers choice. Certain players will make the decision as part of Game Pass that they'll either want to start to subscribe, or they're already a subscriber and they stay subscribed.

"Right now the easiest metric to talk to Rod or anybody about the success is, how many players did we find with this game? And let the gamers choose how they actually want to get the entitlement for the game. It is an evolution, there's no doubt.

"Studios have been trained that, what I look at is what are my day one sales, what are my week one sales? And as an industry, the press wants to know. Hey, how do I judge if Gears 5 has been a success? What I will say is we're incredibly happy with Gears 5. It did review well. It has a tonne of players. We're taking feedback on certain things. The economy - I see the feedback on the game as well. But I thought it was a great release in the Gears franchise and it drove a tonne of players who wanted to go play, and that's awesome."

Gears 5 is out now for the Xbox One and Windows PC, as well as Game Pass on both platforms.

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at or on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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StriderKiwi (on 15 November 2019)

Was worried Gamepass nuked Gears 5's sales, but uf it still sold better thsn 4, and brought new customers ti Gamepass, microsoft must see Gears as a success. Woukdve liked to see the exact numbers.

  • +10
trunkswd StriderKiwi (on 15 November 2019)

Microsoft hasn't released any specific numbers in terms of sales in years. Which is a shame. Gears 5 is a better game than Gears 4.

  • +5
COKTOE StriderKiwi (on 15 November 2019)

Yeah. I would like to see some exact numbers . Too bad we couldn't see those numbers. Too bad that information is unavailable so that the words of a corporate spokesmodel could be given some credence.

  • +4
Mr Puggsly StriderKiwi (on 16 November 2019)

If it "nuked" sales then subscriptions would be pretty massive.

  • +2
StriderKiwi StriderKiwi (on 16 November 2019)

@Puggsly everything I've seen points to high Gamepass sub numbers, granted, it was going for 1 to 2 bucks for a year for a month so I'm not sure how much money they've made off of it.

  • 0
Mr Puggsly (on 16 November 2019)

For record, Forza Horizon 4 sold really well even though it was on Gamepass.

  • +6
Angelv577 (on 15 November 2019)

Ujmm I am getting the impression that a download on gamepass count as a sale.

  • +5
Tridrakious Angelv577 (on 15 November 2019)

That's what I'm thinking as well.

  • +5
thismeintiel (on 15 November 2019)

Well, he's obviously throwing in GamePass players, which saw deep discounts around launch. It would be interesting to see physical and digital sales numbers, plus how many actually stayed and payed full price for GamePass.

  • +4
Azzanation thismeintiel (on 15 November 2019)

Or the game just sold well on all fronts.

  • +1
CGI-Quality thismeintiel (on 15 November 2019)

Yeah, as Zhuge on Era said, this has to include Game Pass downloads to make sense. Without figures, it's anyone's guess.

  • +6
Azzanation thismeintiel (on 15 November 2019)

@CGI, Shouldn't matter either way, If someone goes out of there way to download a game than its no difference to buying a game than returning it after afew days. And that still counts as a sale. So possibly they included GamePass users. In the end, its there direction of there business so sales figures need to judged differently.

  • -4
Mr Puggsly thismeintiel (on 16 November 2019)

It might include Gamepass numbers. But its also worth considering the X1 userbase is much bigger since Gears 4 launched and this title was hyped. Maybe Gears 4 didn't sell a massive amount as well.

  • +1
CGI-Quality thismeintiel (on 16 November 2019)

@Azzanation: It matters because if someone spends $1 on GamePass to ultimately play a game for nothing more, as opposed to paying $60 to actually purchase a copy, then it isn't the same thing, as Zhuge was pointing out.

  • +4
Azzanation thismeintiel (on 16 November 2019)

@CGI keep in mind Gears 5 would have drove GamePass sales so it probably deserves some of the credit for its subscribers.

  • -2
CGI-Quality thismeintiel (on 16 November 2019)

@Azzanation: I'm not removing credit. I'm putting these numbers in perspective given what we know (or how little we know).

  • +5
COKTOE (on 15 November 2019)

What are the numbers for sold copies? He talks about "how many players found it" And then what? Nice metric.....This game is tanking on Twitch, didn't sell well on steam at all, looked to have modest physical sales, and fell like a comet out of the top 25 most played XBO games after briefly dethroning Fortnite from the #1 spot.

  • +3
hunter_alien COKTOE (on 15 November 2019)

Got downvoted for actually stating facts. What a joke some people on vgc can be.

  • +1
Mr Puggsly COKTOE (on 16 November 2019)

He's not necessarily wrong, its just not relevant to how it sold per se.

Steam numers and online activity is not how you count overall sales. Its also worth considering Gears is fairly low on the active because people just arent engaged in the MP. So people move on after the campaign.

On a side note, Gamepass does distinguish selling a game versus getting a game. Which is why MS is more incline to announce the number of users that played a game.

  • +3
DialgaMarine (on 17 November 2019)

Can we get some raw numbers? If it really did sell better, and Spencer isn’t redefining “sale” to include a GamePass user as well, then the only possibility is A LOT of people purchased through Steam. We already know from official sources that the game sold significantly less than Gears 4 in the US and UK.

  • +1
Jigsawx1 (on 17 November 2019)

GG Microsoft !

  • +1
Bandorr (on 15 November 2019)

How does "buying" a game on game pass work?

  • +1
Bandorr Bandorr (on 15 November 2019)

I googled it. Interesting. Makes sense it sold more. 3 years later gets you a bigger userbase. Gamepass gives you a better way of reaching people, and a discount.

  • 0
jason1637 Bandorr (on 15 November 2019)

If you play a game on gamepass you get like 10% off the pull game and I think after 2 months it becomes 20% off.

  • +1
jason1637 Bandorr (on 15 November 2019)


  • 0
DonFerrari (on 18 November 2019)

Don't give any numbers and just say they are happy so that proves it is a success, as open as always.

  • 0
MADLOO (on 15 November 2019)

See this has me a bit sceptical all the sales charts have pointed to pretty poor sales and steamcharts player base numbers are down to just 500 this month with not so clever reviews on steam overall...i just assumed not many bought it and opted for the pass via ms store maybe explaining the low numbers on steam....hmm

  • 0
Mr Puggsly MADLOO (on 16 November 2019)

CoD doesn't sell amazing numbers on PC. Still sells pretty well on Xbox.

Many PC users could have also opted for Gamepass.

  • 0
MADLOO MADLOO (on 16 November 2019)

Exactly why I'm saying actual sales can't be great..... More probably opted to play the gamepass version because steam stats are low which is exactly what I was saying the 1st time

  • 0
Mr Puggsly MADLOO (on 17 November 2019)

Yeah, I misunderstood. But a point still stands, PC is necessarily relevant to overall sales.

Whatever it Gears 5 sold on PC, its likely bigger than Gears 4. Steamspy just has it between 100K-200K.

They also show, "Peak concurrent players yesterday: 478." Which isn't terrible given that doesn't include Windows Store players. All this tells me its a game with a fairly active online community (not including console cross play) and the PC port was profitable.

  • +1