Why is jolly pirate sim 'Sea of Thieves' so popular again? | Inquirer Technology

Why is jolly pirate sim ‘Sea of Thieves’ so popular again?

/ 06:55 PM June 10, 2020

sea of thieves

“Sea of Thieves” has expanded through regular Content Updates and the benefits of Xbox Game Pass. Image: Courtesy of Rare Ltd./Xbox Studios via AFP Relaxnews

Launching on Steam on June 3, and subject to its highest levels of Google Search interest since debuting in 2018, “Sea of Thieves” is a game of hijinks upon the high seas, of bailing out water and bailing friends out of the brig, of unearthing buried treasure and hurling human cannonballs off the starboard bow.

Multiplayer jaunt “Sea of Thieves” arrived in March 2018 for Xbox One and Windows PCs — but on computers, it was exclusive to its publisher’s own Microsoft Store.

Since then, though, “Sea of Thieves” has become one of the major reasons for players to sign up to Xbox Game Pass, and two years of iterative updates for this competent, optimistic, but unremarkable family-friendly survival game have made for a freeform adventure with an armful of possibilities.


There are skirmishes against other multiplayer crews, scrambles to shore for treasure chests, combined efforts against enormous marine monsters and plenty of space for bonhomie and buffoonery between shipmates.

As an Xbox Studios title, it’s automatically part of the XGP subscription service. That way, there’s no need to pay for it separately: Game Pass is normally $9.99 (about P500) per month for Xbox One or Windows 10 PCs, or $14.99 (around P750) for both as the combined Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

In this way, releasing Xbox Game Pass titles on other widely used stores like Steam can help drive value-conscious game fans towards XGP subscriptions.

(Ultimate runs a $1 (about P50) offer for the first month. XGP for PC, with its slightly reduced catalog of 193 games, is running a $4.99 (around P250) offer during a beta testing phase.)


Don’t want to sign up for Game Pass? Then buy it separately. Don’t want to deal with the Microsoft Store? If you’ve got Windows 10 and a free Xbox Live account, then buy it on Steam — and plenty of people have.

That’s how “Sea of Thieves” was propelled into top spot on Steam’s revenue-based chart for the week ending June 7, 2020, beyond the nostalgic “Command & Conquer Remastered Collection”, genre-defining battle royale “PUBG” and fellow re-release “Need for Speed: Heat”, plus the store’s own-brand virtual reality headset.


What about microtransactions? Will “Sea of Thieves” cost an arm and a peg-leg in the long run?

As it updates with regular caches of content, “Sea of Thieves” is supported by a selection of optional purchases: that’s how the whole thing stays afloat.

Purchases range from $1.49 (P75) for 150 Ancient Coins to $34.99 (P1750) for 4,250 Ancient Coins to spend in an in-game shop. Then there are temporary bundles available for the length of a season (currently $9.99 and $16.99 (around P500 and P850)).

How long do seasons last? “Sea of Thieves” calls them Content Updates, and recent ones have tended to last around four to five weeks. The latest, Lost Treasures, released on May 27, 2020.

However, it’s not necessary to buy Ancient Coins using real money. Players can get them by finding and defeating special, golden Ancient Skeletons, though the beach-bound islanders aren’t exactly common and run away whenever they emerge.

Players get 10 seconds to fell an Ancient Skeleton before it hides under the sand again. Shatter it, and it’ll drop between 100 and 800 Ancient Coins. RGA


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TOPICS: Microsoft, multiplayer, simulator games, Steam, Xbox
TAGS: Microsoft, multiplayer, simulator games, Steam, Xbox

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