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The monthly PS Plus games, available to Essential subscribers, rarely are universally appreciated. There are exceptions, of course, where it feels like everyone is on board – but usually the updates are met with a mixed response, as our monthly polls demonstrate. So, how much does it cost Sony to upset its fanbase every four weeks? A substantial sum, it seems!

Obviously, the deals will vary on a game-to-game basis, but an otherwise boring financial document submitted by Snails Inc reveals that Sony paid $3.5 million to include ARK: Survival Evolved on PS Plus back in March 2022. Interestingly, it cost Microsoft just $2.5 million to include the same game in Xbox Game Pass for six months.

We suspect the difference in cost is down to a couple of key factors: PS Plus, for starters, has more subscribers, with recent internal data pegging the service at around 50 million active members – compared to approximately half that on Xbox Game Pass. In addition, players who redeem PS Plus games are able to keep them forever, while they’re removed entirely from Microsoft’s service.

The most bizarre part, though, is that Xbox is paying just $2.3 million to include ARK 2 in its service from launch, for three full years. You’d expect this to carry a significantly higher cost than any of the aforementioned deals, considering it’s a brand new game, so we’re curious how Microsoft has negotiated that price.

[source, via]