Magma degassing is thought to play a major role in magma fractionation, transport, storage, and volcanic eruption dynamics. However, the conditions that determine when and how magma degassing operates prior to and during an eruption remain poorly constrained. We performed experiments to explore if the initial presence of gas bubbles in magma influences the capability of gas to escape from the magma. Vesiculation of natural H2O-poor (<<1 wt.%) silicic obsidian glasses was investigated by in situ, high-temperature (above the glass transition) experiments using synchrotron-based X-ray tomographic microscopy with high spatial (3 μm/pixel) and temporal resolution (1 second per 3D dataset). As a validation, a second set of experiments was performed on identical starting materials using a Karl-Fisher titration setup to quantify the amount of extracted gas that escapes via volatile diffusion and/or bubble coalescence during vesiculation. In both sets of experiments, vesiculation was triggered by heating the samples at room pressure. Our results suggest that the presence of pre-existing gas bubbles during a nucleation event significantly decreases the tendency of bubbles to coalesce and inhibits magma outgassing. In contrast, in initially bubble-free samples, the nucleation and growth of bubbles is accompanied by significant coalescence and outgassing. We infer that volatile-undersaturated (i.e. bubble-free) magmas in the reservoirs are more likely to erupt effusively, while the presence of excess gas already at depth (i.e. bubble-bearing systems) increases the likelihood of explosive eruptions.