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

Screenshot:: Squanch Games

Amazing shooter High on lifeJust a week after its initial release on PC and Xbox Game Pass, it is currently the most popular game on the service, surpassing popular Xbox titles and long-running games such as: Minecraft:. It’s a sign that the shooter has a lot of fans, but it also shows how few big, first-party Xbox offerings there have been in 2022.

Released on December 13th on Game Pass, High on life received mixed reviews from critics and was initially a mess at launch. Shortly after its release, a patch fixing some of the worst performance issues hit and the game is now more playable (if you don’t mind Rick and Morty– as humor.) And it seems that many have decided to give High on life a move according to the limited data we have through Xbox.com and the Game Pass app.

On the official Xbox websiteYou can see the overall list of “Most Popular” Game Pass games, and according to that site, as of December 19th at 5:20 PM EST:High on life is the most popular title in the entire Game Pass collection. A glance at the Game Pass app on Android and iOS reveals a similar story, though the app’s menu is slightly different; Lego star wars not the second, but the sixth. (My guess for the slight discrepancy: the app and website collect the same data, but at different times.) Whereas in the PC Game Pass app, High on life also above forward Darktide: and: Microsoft Solitaire.

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

Screenshot:: Xbox / Kotaku

So, on the one hand, this is a great thing High on life developer Squanch Games and Justin Roiland. Many people are playing the new shooter on Xbox and PC. It is great for all people (and AI algorithms), who worked hard on the game, and it’s nice to see a new IP doing well in an era of gaming where everything seems to be a remake, sequel, or reboot. But on the other hand, this also seems like a small indictment of the current state of Game Pass and its lack of strong, recent first-party releases. While Sony and Nintendo release big exclusives like god of war and: PokemonMicrosoft has failed to deliver similarly big names of its own in 2022.

This year, Microsoft released only one new game for Xbox and PC developed by one of its in-house studios, a historical narrative game Pentiment By Obsidian. Regardless of what you think of the game, it’s not a great product compared to Sony or Nintendo.

By comparison, 2021 saw the launch of Xbox Game Studios Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Psychonauts 2, and: Age of Empires IV. Will High on life did almost as well and were just as popular on Game Pass in 2021 against those titles. I don’t know. I can’t look at alternate sizes. But I think the lack of big games from Xbox (and this year in general) has helped smaller and mid-sized titles like Wicked West and: High on life, do better than usual. Which is a good thing in the long run. But how much longer will most Game Pass subscribers pay for the service, if at all? the biggest games that come on it come elsewhere and Xbox big hitters like Gears: and: Hello!are they nowhere to be seen?

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