High On Life is now the most popular game on Game Pass

A scary alien gun stares at the camera while the player holds a red alien with big eyes in the other hand.

Screenshot: Squanch Games

wacky shooter Raised on lifejust a week after its initial release on PC and Xbox Game Pass, is currently the most popular game on the service, beating out big Xbox titles and long-running games like Minecraft. It’s a sign that the shooter has a lot of fans, but also an indication of the scarcity of big first-party offerings from Xbox in 2022.

Released December 13 on Game Pass, Raised on life received mixed reviews reviews and was initially a mess at launch. Shortly after its release, a patch fixing some of the worst performance issues hit and the the game is more playable now (if it does not bother you rick and morty-like humor.) And it seems like a lot of people have decided to give Raised on life a trial, based on the limited data we have through Xbox.com and the Game Pass app.

On the official Xbox siteyou can see a general list of “most popular” Game Pass games, and according to this site – as of 5:20 p.m. EST on December 19 –Raised on life is the most popular title in the entire Game Pass collection. A look at the Game Pass app on Android and iOS reveals a similar story, although the listing on the app is slightly different, with Lego Star Wars not in second but in sixth. (I guess for the slight difference: the app and the website pull from the same data but at different times.) Meanwhile, on the PC Game Pass app, Raised on life is also in the lead, ahead The oil spill and Microsoft Solitaire.

A collage of screenshots shows High On Life as the most popular game on Game Pass.

Screenshot: Xbox / Kotaku

So, on the one hand, it’s a good thing for Raised on life developer Squanch Games and Justin Roiland. Lots of people are playing the new shooter on Xbox and PC. It’s great for everyone (and AI algorithms) who worked hard on the game, and it’s nice to see a new IP working well in an era of gaming where everything feels like a remake, sequel, or reboot. But on the other hand, it also seems like a small indictment of the current state of Game Pass and its lack of recent, solid first-party releases. While Sony and Nintendo offer great exclusives like God of the war and PokemonMicrosoft in 2022 was unable to ship its own similar big-name titles.

This year, Microsoft only released one new game for Xbox and PC which was developed by one of its own in-house studios: the historical narrative game Repentance by Obsidian. No matter what you think of this game, it’s not a great result compared to Sony or Nintendo.

In comparison, in 2021 Xbox Game Studios released Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Psychonauts 2, and Age of Empires IV. Would have Raised on life have done almost as well and been as popular on Game Pass in 2021 against these titles? I do not know. I can’t look in alternate dimensions. But I think a lack of big games from Xbox (and in general this year) has helped small and midsize titles, like bad west and Raised on life, do better than usual. Which, in the long run, is a good thing. But how much longer will a large chunk of Game Pass subscribers continue to pay for the service if the the biggest games that happen on it happen elsewhere and Xbox big names like gears and Haloare nowhere to be seen?

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