The estimated cost of bringing AAA games to Xbox Game Pass is up to $300 million
September 23, 2023

The estimated cost of bringing AAA games to Xbox Game Pass is up to $300 million

Bringing third-party AAA games to Xbox Game Pass, for example, in the case of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, would cost as much as $300 million, Microsoft employees estimated in an internal message exchange that mistakenly ended up on the Internet.

Leaked Microsoft documents show a May 2022 exchange of messages between Sarah Bond, Microsoft's vice president of game business development, and Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox.

The two analyzed potential debuts on the Xbox subscription service to fill the gap, including cost estimates, average hours played and the likelihood that publishers would be open to a deal in the first place.

The messages also show that Bond believes that Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, apart from costing the company the most, would be the “crown jewel” for Game Pass. However, she notes that EA is unlikely to agree to a deal.

Spencer and Bond also discussed other AAA games such as Mortal Kombat 1, which they also consider the most valuable game, which would reportedly cost around 250 million dollars.

Other Warner Bros titles were also included in the correspondence, and when it comes to Interactive Entertainment, they believe that it is unlikely that they will bring them due to the merger with Discovery.

However, Xbox recently announced that Gotham Knights will be coming to Game Pass on October 3rd, and Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was available on the service last December. The estimated costs for these two games were set at 50 and 35 million dollars, respectively.

Baldur's Gate 3 was also a potential purchase pegged at $5 million in correspondence. Based on that, it looks like Microsoft may have slightly underestimated the popularity of the game, the director of Larian studio said that everyone else did too, writes

In February 2023, it was announced that Baldur's Gate 3 would not be available on Xbox Series X and S at all due to technical issues caused by the differences between the two models. However, Larian confirmed that the game will be available for both Xbox devices later this year.

Although Phil Spencer was not involved in the full analysis, he did mention a potential deal with FromSoftware to bring Dark Souls games following the popularity of Elden Ring. However, it is unclear whether Microsoft is still moving towards this plan.

Incidentally, the discussion came after Spencer expressed concern that due to the Starfield delay and the unclear situation with the Redfall release, the Xbox would likely experience a sixteen-month gap between exclusive launches.

“This is truly a catastrophic situation for us given everything we've invested in content at our studios and the GP content pool”he wrote.

He added that they have to learn from that situation and make a plan for the future, and that leaving 2021 without big exclusives in 2022 would be a failure of planning that they cannot afford.

The full list of potential titles and estimated costs is below:

  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga: 35 million
  • Dying Light 2: 50 miliona
  • City Skylines 2: unknown
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: 5 million per month
  • Dragon Ball: The Breakers: 20 miliona
  • Just Dance: 5 million
  • Let’s Sing ABBA: 5 miliona
  • Return to Monkey Island: 5 miliona
  • Wreckfest 2: 10-14 miliona
  • Baldur's Gate 3: 5 million
  • Gotham Knights: 50 miliona
  • Assassin’s Creed Mirage: 100 miliona
  • Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League: 250 miliona
  • Star Wars Jedi: Survivor: 300 million
  • Mortal Kombat 1: 250 million
  • Grand Theft Auto 5: 12-15 million monthly
  • Blood Runner: 5 miliona
  • Net Crisis Glitch Busters: 5 miliona