Sony paid $3.5 million to put Ark: Survival Evolved on PlayStation Plus for one month, while Microsoft paid $2.5 million to put it on Xbox Game Pass for six months.
As spotted by Kotaku reporter Ethan Gach on Twitter (below), a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by Snail Games USA (the parent company of Ark developer Studio Wildcard) revealed the values paid by each company to feature the game in their “free games” line-up.
Ark appeared on PlayStation Plus in March 2022 and was therefore free for subscribers in the five week period ranging from March 1 to April 4, a deal that Sony paid $3.5 million for.
Sony paid $3.5 million to make ARK: Survival Evolved a March PS Plus game.
Microsoft paid $2.5 million to keep it on Game Pass for the first half of this year, and $2.3 million to bring ARK 2 to the service when it launches.
— AmericanTruckSongs8 (@ethangach) October 11, 2022
Neither Sony or the developers involved have previously revealed how much these deals go through for, and while this could be a complete outlier and not representative of a standard agreement, its the first insight into the financial backend of PlayStation Plus that we’ve had since it began in 2010.
Microsoft, on the other hand, had reached an agreement to feature Ark on Xbox Game Pass for three years starting in 2019. Extending the deal later, the filing revealed that it paid the $2.5 million to feature Ark on Xbox Game Pass until June 30, 2022.
Looking forward, Microsoft also paid $2.3 million to guarantee that Ark 2 would be featured on Xbox Game Pass for three years after it’s released next year.
Similar to Sony’s PlayStation Plus deals, little is known about Microsoft’s agreements with developers for Xbox Game Pass, meaning this is also one of the first real insights we’ve had into how the process works.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.