Cooking Simulator – Game Pass isn’t cheap to run (pic: Big Cheese Studio)
The best indication yet of how much it costs to run Game Pass comes from an obscure indie game that Xbox paid half a million dollars for.
There’s no denying that Xbox Game Pass is currently the best bargain in gaming but the question many ask is at what cost… literally? How much does Microsoft pay to have games on Game Pass and is it too expensive to continue in its current form and for Sony to replicate?
Microsoft has admitted in the past that it doesn’t make much, if any, profit from the service but the idea is that once people are caught in its ecosystem they won’t want to leave.
Previously, one of the few hints at what Microsoft pays for games was an analyst claim that Guardians Of The Galaxy cost between $5 to $10 million (£4.2 to £8.4m). That’s not a particularly good example though as despite being very good the game was a sales disappointment and Microsoft may have got it relatively cheap, compared to other big budget games.
$5 to $10 million is also a pretty wide range but another, more specific, example has emerged, for the considerably more obscure Cooking Simulator.
Developer Big Cheese Studio has revealed that Microsoft paid $600,000 (£501,288) to have the game on Game Pass, which works out as 22% of their net profits and around 17% of net revenues.
The financial report, as first noted by Twisted Voxel, is mostly in Polish, but while being on Game Pass would have greatly reduced sales of the game on Xbox and PC it did represent a hefty cash injection for the company.
Remember, this is for a small indie game, that we’ve never heard of until now, that was first released on PC in 2019 and, judging by the trailer… well, it’s not exactly Halo.
This suggests that the Guardians Of The Galaxy estimate probably is on the low end of the scale for a AAA game and that Microsoft really are spending a fortune on keeping Game Pass running, with a volume of money that Sony cannot easily match.
As expensive as it is though, it is working out for Microsoft, as Game Pass has made them more popular than at any time since the Xbox 360 era, despite the dearth of first party exclusives over the last few years.
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