‘Gears 5’ Finally Dethrones ‘Fortnite’ As The Most Played Game On Xbox One

Microsoft has a late-gen hit on its hands with Gears 5, a game that many are calling a return to form for the series, if not its best installment yet, depending on who you ask. Despite that we’re heading into a busy fall release season (Borderlands 3 launches today), the popularity of Gears 5 plus its prominent place in Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass means that it has done the impossible, it has dethroned Fortnite.

Fortnite has been on the top of the most played Xbox games list for at least a year now, being A) free and B) extremely popular, but now at long last, Gears 5 has come along and knocked it down to #2. Gears is not technically free, at the very least you need the Xbox Game Pass to play it, but at this point I feel like most Xbox owners are understanding that if you do own an XB1, the Game Pass is practically mandatory because of the value it offers.

Gears 5 actually had a bonus presence on the Game Pass with Ultimate Game Pass access giving players an entire weekend to play early if they had that version. The Ultimate Game Pass is $15 a month compared to $10, but Microsoft is offering 1-2 months of Ultimate to players for $1-2 as a promotion to try it out for Gears 5 early access. Without a review code of my own, hell, I signed up.

Fortnite, meanwhile, may be continuing to slide to some extent with its tenth season being somewhat lackluster, if you ask many players. The mech has dominated the conversation for half the season, only recently being nerfed, and many players just seem burned out on the game overall, which is why there may be rumors that Epic is planning to make an entirely new map for season 11.

Gears 5, meanwhile, is being celebrated as a big win for Microsoft and Xbox in way that Gears 4 wasn’t. Gears 4 was fine, but Gears 5, both visually and in terms of storytelling is a step beyond the last game, and depending on your opinion, the last few games, even if its Metascore is a touch lower than the past 90+ entries.

I personally loved the Gears 5 campaign, minus one or two aspects at the end, but I am happy to see Gears return as a relevant series again, and this is what I’m hoping 343 can do with Halo Infinite, making the series feel deeply impressive again. But we have a whole year to wait to see how that plays out.

How long will Gears 5 stay on top? We’ll see, but the fact that it hit number one at all against Fortnite is impressive and a sign of the times.

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I write about video games, television, movies and the internet.