Xbox leak reveals unsustainable cost of Game Pass and PS Plus titles

Microsoft has seen Xbox Game Pass costs leak as part of a larger drop of unredacted documents, hinting at the unsustainable price of getting games on PS Plus.

Xbox leak reveals unsustainable cost of Game Pass and PS Plus titles
Kes Eylers-Stephenson

Kes Eylers-Stephenson

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Amongst the massive Microsoft Xbox leak of 2023, we have also now got an idea of the estimated price of individual titles thanks to the Xbox Game Pass costs leak. In turn, this insinuates the amount of money it takes to run a subscription service like Microsoft and Sony do and the potential unsustainable future of putting together a service that offers the quality seen on our best PS Plus games list day one.

Red Dead Redemption 2, Baldur's Gate 3 estimated costs for Game Pass

The Microsoft leak has led to a massive amount of documentation from the FTC case over the acquisition of Activision Blizzard getting dispersed online. Much of this was supposed to be redacted, but the real documentation was left linked on a server somewhere. Now, one of the more interesting ones is of emails uploaded to places like Imgur is one that shows Microsoft's estimated cost of getting games onto Xbox Game Pass.
We have the costs listed below for you, but the table itself is clearly a cost guide for potential "Day and Date" (and later) releases onto the subscription service. It also includes the likelihood of a deal happening and a "wow factor" (how important the game could be to the service). The emails are also using the information as of May 2022, so it's worth bearing all of this in mind, as the same prices would not likely evenly apply to PS Plus.

Estimated cost of all games for Xbox Game Pass in Microsoft leak

GameCost
Red Dead Redemption 2$5M/mth
Suicide Squad$250M
Star Wars Jedi Survivor$300M
Mortal Kombat 1$250M
Baldur’s Gate 3$5M
Gotham Knights$30M
Assassin’s Creed Rift$100M
GTA V$12-$15M/mth
Dying Light 2$50M
Lego Star Wars$35M
Dragon Ball The Breakers$20M
Return to Monkey Island$5M
Wreckfest 2$10-$14M
Just Dance$5M
Blood Runner$5M
Glitch Busters$5M
While I will most certainly point out the absurdity of some of these costs later on, it is worth reiterating that they are estimated or expected and certainly not an indication of final fees or done deals. This is from Microsoft executives and researchers trying to work out what games they could get and how much outlay various games would cost.

That being said, in the case of the estimated cost for Suicide Squad going as high as $250 million, surely that would be reaching towards the actual budget of the game. Indeed, it's funny to see the game being given a huge 'high' wow factor which — given the way that State of Play trailer in early 2023 went down and the game's subsequent delay — most certainly wouldn't garner such a positive "wow" for Microsoft fans today. In any case, Microsoft thinks a deal would be nigh on impossible given the Discovery merger and the studio's marketing partnership with Sony.
There are way more games to dig into, which I'm sure some of you will do in the comments (please do!), but there seem to be plenty of interesting fringe cases for certain games. Red Dead Redemption 2 and GTA V, for example, would cost the same amount as an indie game takes to make every month. Also, Wreckfest 2 confirmed? A sequel to one of the best PS4 games around is always welcome — I can't wait to see what kinds of additions a sequel would make to that bombastic racer.

Kes

What does the leak say about PS Plus costs?

This leak has been all about Microsoft, but the document does give us some incredible insight into how much things cost to get on subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus Extra. The day-and-date games cost seriously big money (like, equivalent to one AAA game budget), which probably explains Sony's reluctance to get massive games day one on PS Plus. The simple truth is, Sony couldn't afford that because there is simply no way that it would be a sustainable model for the company.
In fact, based on these estimations, it's becoming abundantly clear (as if it weren't already) that there is no way having such massive deals would be a sustainable strategy for Xbox if it wasn't kept solvent by Microsoft money. Xbox Game Pass money would have to pay for not only the games the company wanted to pay to get on the service but also subsidize the cost of making games with the 22 development teams it owns, given it offers those games on day one too.

Xbox Game Pass is without a doubt a great service and a good deal for consumers, but these numbers indicate that the revenue earned would have to be absurd, and that would require us to live in a world in which subscriber numbers just keep growing dramatically — not stabilizing as we see currently.

The idea that Sony could compete with Microsoft on day-one games if the costs are as massive as those listed above is simply unrealistic — it wouldn't be a sustainable course for a company without endlessly deep pockets. The PlayStation-owning company is probably paying an arm and a leg just to get the games it does have on the service and day-one games like Stray, Tchia, Humanity, and Sea of Stars.
In our PS Plus year-one review we noted that there is plenty of content already there and we are happy with the Game Catalog as is, though it is far from a perfect service. I just can't imagine that Sony will be adding day-one games or its own PlayStation Studios on release looking at these costs! But what do you think? We have a lovely comments section down below, so set involved in the chatter and we'll see you there!
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like The Last of Us and Horizon, PS Plus news, and his favorite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and God of War — before an evening swim.
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