The recent Xbox Developer_Direct saw Bethesda and Tango Gameworks surprise release its newest game, Hi-Fi Rush, and while these types of releases don’t happen a lot these days, it looks like putting it front and centre in Microsoft’s newest game showcase format has paid off, as the bright and colourful rhythm action game is already doing very well on Steam and Xbox.
You don’t see publishers attempting what Xbox and Bethesda have with Hi-Fi Rush these days, but it’s clear that the two are in a unique position to pull something like this off. With no official reveals until the Xbox Developer_Direct showcase, Hi-Fi Rush exploded onto the live-streamed show with a unique aesthetic and hook; what if an action game had the rhythm of Guitar Hero and was released straight onto Game Pass?
This appears to have worked, as the game is already making a buzz online and climbing the Steam charts, as it’s the number seven top seller on Valve’s platform at the time of publication, with thousands of concurrent players and Twitch views – which is great considering nobody knew this game existed before this week.
What makes Hi-Fi Rush’s Steam success truly incredible though is how the release didn’t aim to play into Valve’s own platform, but Xbox and PC Game Pass. People are buying it despite the opportunity to play it for a much cheaper price of a subscription.
This might have to do with some wanting to own the game over ‘rent’ it via Xbox’s subscription service, but I’m still pleasantly surprised to see Xbox’s strategy here work both ways.
As a game with no real marketing build-up outside of rumours that Tango Gameworks was in fact working on a game (no surprise there), Hi-Fi Rush was clearly aiming to take advantage of the at least 25 million plus Game Pass subscribers with a shadow drop at Xbox’s first big event of 2023. There was clearly room for it to show off two, as we only had four confirmed game appearances before the show actually started, so one more wasn’t going to cloud the scene.
While I can wax lyrical about a surprise Game Pass-designed launch doing well on Steam for days, what really helps Hi-Fi Rush is that it absolutely rips. It’s an incredibly simple action game that asks more of your sense of rhythm than your ability to remember convoluted button presses that’s also a joy to look at and surprisingly funny. With all the discourse around the Forspoken dialogue, Hi-Fi Rush is so very close to coming across poorly, but its dialogue works.
Hi-Fi Rush is also getting a lot of praise from people that aren’t just me with over over 90% of players on Steam looking at it positively. It also helps that this isn’t priced like a full AAA release, at just $29.99 USD (£26.99) on Steam, or even cheaper if you consider it worth just one month of Xbox Game Pass.
If you’re looking to jump into Tango’s newest game, we’ve got a breakdown of the Hi-Fi Rush system requirements so you can make sure your PC has the beat, or you can check out some of the other best rhythm games to get you grooving in 2023.