Microsoft did not expect very much from Baldur's Gate 3 ahead of the game's launch, but it seems even developer Larian Studios can't be mad about it.
One of the numerous Xbox FTC leaks to crop up this week is an email from Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer with a chart running down his expectations about potential third-party additions to Xbox Game Pass. Xbox expected to pay around $300 million to get a marquee AAA game like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on the service, for example, if it could get EA to agree to a deal at all.
But among those potential Game Pass additions Spencer ranked Baldur's Gate 3 near the bottom, describing it as a "second-run Stadia PC RPG," as Polygon highlights. Microsoft expected that Larian would want about $5 million to get BG3 on Game Pass, similar to its expectations for potential deals on Just Dance and Let's Sing ABBA.
Of course, Baldur's Gate 3 turned out to be the breakout hit of 2023, far surpassing even Larian's expectations. While there are still no announced Game Pass plans, the RPG's success has seemingly been enough to convince Xbox to bend its rules about feature parity between Series X and S to ensure that the game comes to the console.
As far as Xbox misjudging Baldur's Gate 3, Larian publishing director Michael Douse says on Twitter, "In their defence, so did everyone else. Same with Divinity: Original Sin 2. Comes with the genre, and the way we approach things, and the way we execute things. There just isn’t any existing data that could have told anyone how BG3 was going to perform. We just had to take giant spooky leaps."
The recent leaks also detail plans for an all-digital Xbox Series X 'refresh.'