The documents have now disappeared from the Northern California District Court website. There they appeared, most likely, accidentally, as papers attached to a lawsuit between the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Microsoft. The former, it should be recalled, wants to block the purchase of Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft thought it would be asked $100 million to get Assassin’s Creed Mirage into Game Pass and only $5 million for the rights to release Baldur’s Gate III in the same place
For the expansion of the Game Pass library will have to shell out a lot of money. These are the conclusions reached by Microsoft management, according to a leaked internal correspondence that appeared on the website of the District Court of Northern California.
According to Axios, a letter from Xbox Vice President Sarah Bond dated May 16, 2022, reveals that third-party developers could be asked to pay huge sums to publish their future projects as part of a Game Pass subscription.
According to Bond:
- Ubisoft would have asked for $100 million for Assassin’s Creed Mirage to appear in the subscription on release day (at the time, the game was due out in early 2023 and would have been a bargain, according to a top executive)
- EA would have demanded much more, $300 million – for Star Wars Jedi Survivor to hit the library at launch (Bond felt the game would have brightened up the subscription, but the deal itself would not have been economically viable)
- Hitting Game Pass for a blockbuster like Grand Theft Auto V would cost Microsoft $12-15 million a month (the game was released in July 2023 on the subscription service, but the terms of the deal were not officially disclosed).
Among the curious: the company believed that for Baldur’s Gate III hitting the subscription service on release day is unlikely to ask for more than $5 million. In the same amount were valued the rights to release games such as Return to Monkey Island and Just Dance.
Bond’s letter with suggestions for improving the Game Pass library was written and sent after Xbox chief Phil Spencer said in internal correspondence in May 2022 that the company faced a “catastrophic situation” with its own game lineup.
Phil Spencer reacts to leaked Microsoft documents
On September 18, a slew of confidential Microsoft documents published as evidence in a trial with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appeared online. According to Xbox chief Phil Spencer, much of it is now out of date.
Spencer wrote in X (Twitter) that it’s hard for him to watch the Microsoft team’s work being disseminated in this way. He pointed out that much has changed by now, “We’ll share the real plans when we’re ready,” Spencer concluded.
The leaked documents talked about, for example, Microsoft’s desire to buy Nintendo and Valve, plans to release a new generation of Xbox consoles in 2028, rates for getting games into Game Pass, unannounced games from internal studios, and other things.
Shortly after the leak, FTC officials said the agency was not to blame for the leak. Then Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley said the unredacted documents were provided by Microsoft itself.