Microsoft Expected to Pay 50x More to Get Suicide Squad on Game Pass than Baldur’s Gate 3


As you may have heard, Microsoft suffered a massive leak as part of their ongoing legal wrangling with the US Federal Trade Commission, with numerous documents found to be uploaded unredacted to the FTC servers. These documents contained information about Microsoft’s next-gen console plans, Bethesda’s upcoming publishing slate, Phil Spencer’s desire to buy Nintendo, and more.

In addition to all that, plenty of details about the inner workings of Xbox Game Pass have leaked. Perhaps most interesting is a document from mid-2022, which lays out what Microsoft thought publishers would ask in order to put their games on Game Pass on Day 1. Microsoft has never been particularly forthcoming about what financial incentives were provided to publishers to get them on Game Pass, so seeing actual numbers is interesting, although again, remember, this is what Microsoft expected publishers to ask for. In many cases, these deals didn’t actually materialize.

On the upper end of the scale, Microsoft expected the ask for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor to be $300 million, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League to be $250 million, and Assassin’s Creed Mirage to be $100 million. Of course, in the case of Star Wars and Assassin’s Creed, neither game actually ended up on Game Pass on Day 1, while the jury’s still out on Suicide Squad. The document also reveals how much Microsoft is willing to spend to bring high-profile older games to the service, with them estimating Take-Two would ask for $12 to $15 million a month to get GTA V on Game Pass.

The list is also an interesting case of changing perceptions – while Microsoft expected Suicide Squad to be a $250 million ask in 2022, they believed they could get Baldur’s Gate 3, which they dismissively describe as a “second-run Stadia PC RPG” for only $5 million. Needless to say, they’d probably value things differently now! In fact, Microsoft was willing to waive some of their requirements, allowing Larian to release BG3 on Xbox Series S without splitscreen, just to get the game on their systems sooner.

Reading the emails attached to the leaked Game Pass document definitely provides insight into the challenges the Xbox team faces trying to keep the service continually stocked with games. It’s not an easy task, with the 2022 dead period when Xbox essentially had no exclusives outside of Pentiment dubbed a “disaster situation” by Spencer.

If you were planning the upcoming Game Pass lineup, what games would you be targeting? How much should Microsoft be willing to pay for a Day 1 launch?

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