Here’s When ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ Could Come To Xbox Game Pass
I’ve been writing a lot about Cyberpunk 2077 again, this time about recent sales that have deeply discounted the game ahead of what is supposed to be a 2021 release of PS5 and Xbox Series X “free upgrade” versions of the game.
What I keep hearing through all of this is that there is some expectation with all Cyberpunk’s problems and how low the price is dipping for some copies, that it seems destined to end up on Xbox Game Pass for “free” eventually, so many are waiting until that happens.
While I don’t think it’s impossible Cyberpunk 2077 comes to Xbox Game Pass someday, I don’t exactly think it’s imminent either, and I wanted to talk about what I see as the potential timeline for a partnership like this.
It does make sense, conceptually. Microsoft has partnered with CDPR on Cyberpunk promotion from the start, wrapping up the game into its “Smart Delivery” branding that promises free, seamless upgrades to next-gen versions, whenever they get here. They also did not take drastic action against Cyberpunk like Sony did when they removed it from the PlayStation store for six months, despite the fact that the game probably ran the worst on the base Xbox One compared to any other system.
And yet, here’s what I see when I look at the big picture of this.
- CDPR executives are extremely sales driven. Like duh, all executives are, but they have spoken explicitly about wanting Cyberpunk 2077 to be able to drive long term sales, adding to the 15+ million or so it’s already moved. As such, Xbox Game Pass, and especially PC Game Pass, really does not further that clearly stated objective, even if it increases the playerbase. Cyberpunk does not have any microtransactions, so there are no other revenue paths if it does show up on Game Pass. I think CDPR would only see this as a risk to further sales. That may change in the future, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
- Regarding the “low” price of Cyberpunk lately through these sales, I think it’s contextual. When Cyberpunk returned to the PlayStation Store, it dropped its base price to $50, then later went on sale for $33. They are clearly playing catch-up in that market given that they were literally banned from it for half a year, hence the drops. Past that, deals like the $10 physical copy of the PS4 and Xbox One versions at Target likely stem from them literally just making too many physical discs, as they were expecting even higher sales. This is about clearing stock as A) the game sold less than they may have expected due to all its launch issues and/or B) digital copies simply performed better than they were expected to. As such, I don’t really think the idea that CDPR has “given up” selling the game works as evidence for a Game Pass port.
- However, here’s when I can see Cyberpunk 2077 coming to Game Pass. Not for the PS5/Xbox Series X launch, but for when the first, major paid DLC arrives in 2022. This way, CDPR gets to let the Xbox Series X version sell actual copies if people want to pick it up on the powerful system, but then if it does go to Game Pass later, they then have additional content to sell to Game Pass players in the form of DLC that I would expect could be anywhere from $20-40. You get people playing the base game, they like the “fixed, upgraded” version and then they are willing to pay for the DLC. If I were them, that’s what I would do.
Of course, given how absurdly stretched out CDPR’s schedule has been for Cyberpunk post-launch patches and content, the idea of 2022 DLC could likely be late 2022, summer or even fall, despite the fact that on The Witcher 3’s schedule, Hearts of Stone was already out at this point and Blood and Wine came out around a year after launch. Cyberpunk is way behind that.
I just would not expect Cyberpunk to hit Game Pass any time soon. CDPR is driven by sales, not playercount, and they’re not going to do that until they have something to actually sell people on top of the base game.