'Sea Of Thieves' Lost Half Its Players When The Xbox Game Pass Free Trial Expired

Scott Grill

Sea of Thieves was Microsoft's first big Xbox One exclusive for 2018 and received a ton of pre-release hype thanks to multiple betas. The multiplayer high seas shenanigans title also launched the company's initiative to release all first-party Xbox One games as part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription. Unfortunately, it appears most of the subscription service players did not stick around past the free trial, accord to market intelligence firm SuperData.

Rare released Sea of Thieves on March 20 to Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs through traditional retail and digital channels plus the Xbox Game Pass. The game was launched alongside an Xbox Game Pass 14-day free trial that apparently many signed up for to try their hand at piracy, but did not stick around.

SuperData reports that Sea of Thieves enjoyed 1.7 million monthly active players on the Xbox One and 283,000 players on PC during its first month. However, the firm explained that "more than half of these users obtained the game through the limited free trial offered as part of Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass."

It should not be terribly surprising that many players did not renew their free trial once it ended as that is the typical nature of such promotions. One can certainly pose the question of how many players used the free trial as a demo for the game which then led to a traditional sale.

SuperData concludes its report on Sea of Thieves with the statement, "This leaves some unanswered questions concerning the long-term success of the title."

"Sea of Thieves was the second best-selling game of March, and is the eighth best-selling game of 2018 year-to-date," NPD analyst Mat Piscatella explained. "Sea of Thieves generated the highest launch month sales for any title produced by developer Rare since tracking by The NPD Group began in 1995."

Rare is working feverishly on updates and improvements to Sea of Thieves based on player feedback and recently announced six major content drops through the end of 2018 starting in May. Players should expect to see more enemies, more locations, more quests, and the introduction of weekly events.

Meanwhile, Xbox One exclusive State of Decay 2 is slated for release on May 22 and will also be available on Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft is running a different promotion from April 26 through May 8 that makes the Netflix-like games service cost only $1 for the first month. Industry watchers will assuredly be watching how the open-world zombie survival title performs.