Larian’s critically acclaimed CRPG, Baldur’s Gate 3 has been topping charts ever since it was released. It currently sits at the top 5 best-selling games on Steam. However, a huge chunk of gamers from the green camp haven’t been lucky enough to experience this masterpiece.
While Baldur’s Gate 3 is slated to release on Xbox later this year, some interesting tidbits from the Microsoft vs. FTC have shed light on how the game barely made it to the Game Pass, but Microsoft apparently didn’t want it.
This week, Microsoft suffered a massive leak, with unredacted documents from mid-2022 surfacing online that shed light on what the company thought game studios would demand to effectively bring their titles to Game Pass. This list included games like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and Mortal Kombat.
According to these documents, Microsoft predicted that EA would demand ~$300M for Jedi Survior, and Ubisoft ~$100M for AC Mirage to release them on Game Pass. While these forecasts do seem logical, Microsoft got it all wrong with Larian Studios’ best-selling RPG.
The company called Baldur’s Gate 3 a “second-run Stadia PC RPG,” and while in a literal sense, they weren’t wrong, the irony here is how things eventually turned out, especially with the popularity of Baldur’s Gate 3 and it’s absence on Xbox.
Microsoft predicted that Larian Studios would request ~$5M to bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Game Pass; however, they dismissively did not acknowledge it. The year 2022 proved to be a challenging one for Xbox, as the release of Starfield was postponed, and highly anticipated titles such as Redfall and STALKER 2 were also delayed. The latter was expected to release in 2024, leading to a significant drought in terms of major launches for the company.
In an email to Matt Booty (head of Microsoft Studios) and Xbox vice president Sarah Bond, Phil Spencer expressed his concerns for the situation that Xbox had put itself in:
This is really a disaster situation for us given all we’ve invested in content across studios at our GP [Game Pass] content fund.
We set a very high bar in 2021 on quality and pacing of content which was awesome to see. But to come off of that year with no big exclusives launching in 2022 is a portfolio planning miss that we can’t afford. If we need to delay launches (understanding there is a financial impact of that) to create more regular beats for us we need to do that. We have to all understand that the situation we are in now is a failure of our planning and production execution.An excerpt from Phil Spencer’s email to Matt Booty and Sarah Bond
Even though Microsoft has relaxed some restrictions for Baldur’s Gate 3, most people would have already gotten it on other platforms, having bought into the hype. This shows how Microsoft had to bear the consequences of jumping the gun too soon. While the success of Starfield has been much needed for Xbox to establish itself, Baldur’s Gate on Game Pass would have been the icing on the cake.
Keep in mind how the game somehow managed to make its way over to Mac before Xbox – one could only imagine the embarrassment.
This is all we know for now, but rest assured that we will keep you updated as new information becomes available.