Don’t hold your breath waiting for Baldur’s Gate 3 to show up on Game Pass. It’s not happening, according to Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke in an interview with IGN. The game designer said point blank that “it’s not going to be on Game Pass.” Vincke went on to note that this was always the plan and that the title had never been considered for placement in Microsoft’s subscription gaming platform. These statements occurred just one week after the game officially launched on Xbox Series X/S consoles.
At the root of this decision is perceived value. Vincke says that Baldur’s Gate 3 is a “big game” that’s available for a “fair price.” He also touted the title’s lack of microtransactions and its complete story, saying “you get what you pay for.” To that end, a completionist run in Baldur's Gate 3 takes more than 140 hours, according to HowLongToBeat. That breaks down to about 40 cents an hour, which seems like a good value to me.
Larian Studios isn’t Microsoft. This is a small company that needs all the money it can get, with Vincke suggesting that players who pay full-price for Baldur’s Gate 3 will allow the developer to “continue making other games.”
This speaks to a larger issue within the gaming community regarding the “all-you-can-eat” nature of streaming subscription platforms like Game Pass. Obviously, paying $10 each month for access to hundreds of games is a great deal for consumers, but it remains to be seen how it impacts developers. Some smaller developers praise the added exposure that comes with launching on Game Pass, while others like Take Two call it a “lost opportunity” for publishers. Sony head Jim Ryan even called the platform “value destructive,” but he’s speaking about a primary competitor so, grain meet salt.
Microsoft has held steady to the idea that Game Pass actually increases sales of included titles, as players fall in love with certain games and want to own them outright. There’s some evidence to support this. Starfield was available on the subscription service since launch day but still managed to be the best-selling title of September, according to figures published by VentureBeat. However, that old adage about cows and free milk must apply to some gamers.
Most importantly, Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t need Game Pass. It’s one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed releases of the year, racking up a boatload of trophies at The Game Awards and selling around 20 million copies on Steam alone. The game’s also available on PS5 and, as mentioned, Xbox Series X/S.