The big Xbox document leak has revealed many things that Microsoft never intended to be made public, and one of those is how much money Microsoft might pay a publisher to bring games to Game Pass on launch day. Game Pass getting day-one new releases is a major perk and incentive to encourage people to sign up and stay subscribers, and Microsoft might pay top dollar for this.
Xbox vice president Sarah Bond sent an email to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer and Xbox CFO Tim Stuart (among others) detailing what it might cost to secure major third-party games coming to Game Pass on launch day. It’s important to note that the prices mentioned below are not actual prices paid by Microsoft, as many of these games never came to Game Pass, nor are they even negotiated or necessarily discussed with any of the companies in question.
They seem to be only expectations of what a deal might cost from Microsoft’s perspective. And even beyond payments, there would surely be a range of other factors at play for a company when deciding whether or not to launch their new game into Game Pass.
With those caveats out of the way, the document mentions what’s described as the “expected partner ask” for a range of games in 2022 and early 2023, as well as games already released. The spreadsheet also included columns for “likely to close” and “wow factor.”
For GTA V, Microsoft was expecting Take-Two to ask for $12 million-$15 million per month. The game has been added and removed from Game Pass multiple times over the years, and it’s back right now. For other games, only a single payment was listed, like $250 million for Suicide Squad, $300 million for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, and $250 million for Mortal Kombat 1 to come to Game Pass at launch. Assassin’s Creed Rift, the codename for Mirage, was listed as $100 million to get it on Game Pass for release.
The document also mentions a new-generation version of Red Dead Redemption II, with Microsoft expecting Take-Two to ask for $5 million per month to get it as a day-and-date title for Game Pass. Rockstar has not announced a new version of Red Dead Redemption II.
Baldur’s Gate 3, from Larian Studios, is also listed on the document at $5 million. Larian co-founder Swen Vincke seemingly reacted with bewilderment to this news, posting on Twitter/X, “I’d love to meet that analyst.”
Game Pass “Expected Partner Ask”
Lego Star Wars — $35 millionDying Light 2 — $50 millionRed Dead Redemption II — $5 million/monthDragon Ball: The Breakers — $20 millionJust Dance — $5 millionLet’s Sing Abba – $5 millionReturn to Monkey Island — $5 millionWreckfest 2 — $10 million-$14 millionBaldur’s Gate 3 — $5 millionGotham Knights — $50 millionAssassin’s Creed Mirage — $100 millionSuicide Squad — $250 millionStar Wars Jedi: Survivor — $300 millionMortal Kombat 1 — $250 millionGTA V — $12 million-$15 million/month
The Xbox leaks also revealed new insight into Microsoft’s long-term next-gen Xbox plans, a mid-gen refresh for the Series X|S, and a roadmap of future Bethesda games. A new Xbox controller with haptic feedback has been leaked, too, while it’s also come to light that Spencer had high hopes for Xbox on the day the PS5 was announced.
How did this leak happen in the first place? According to the FTC, Microsoft sent a link to the FTC containing this information, and the Court uploaded it. Microsoft later got in touch to have the documents removed, but the internet never forgets.
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