Upon launch, Baldur’s Gate 3 reached a phenomenal 800K concurrent players on Steam and received PC Gamer’s highest rating in 16 years, but after years in Early Access nothing special was expected from it.
One example is a May 2022 document inadvertently leaked from Microsoft as part of its lawsuit with the FTC, which describes Baldur’s Gate 3 as a “second-run Stadia PC RPG.” which Microsoft expected to release on PC Game Pass for about $5 million.
Leak commented head Larian Sven Vinke.
I would like to meet this analyst. This is a rather erroneous assessment. Someone didn’t do their homework.
Larian Publishing Director Michael Douse responded to this assessment by saying he was not surprised by Microsoft’s low expectations.
To be fair, it’s not just Microsoft that underestimated Baldur’s Gate 3. It was the same with Divinity: Original Sin 2. This has to do with both the genre and the way we do business at Larian. There simply isn’t any data on the market to tell you how well Baldur’s Gate 3 will do. We had to take huge risks, and every step was a huge leap of faith. The players, of course, did not underestimate us, but I thought it was already obvious
The assessment from inside Microsoft was part of a list of ideas for including games in the Xbox Game Pass subscription. The same list also included a “low” chance of including games like EA’s Jedi Survivor, which Microsoft estimates would cost up to $300 million if EA agreed to do so.
The impetus for the exchange of views was the fact that the release of Starfield was postponed to a later date, resulting in a 16-month gap between significant games on the Xbox services, which the head of the company Phil Spencer called a “catastrophic situation.” Subsequently, Baldur’s Gate 3 was scheduled to release around the same time as Starfield, and then pushed forward a month – ostensibly to avoid the release of a larger RPG.