Cooking Simulator dev discloses Microsoft payment for Game Pass

Microsoft has reportedly paid US 600,000 to Polish developer Big Cheese Studio to get Cooking Simulator on to Game Pass, giving us the rare example of payment Microsoft gives to developers and publishers.

In a financial disclosure, Big Cheese Studio revealed the exact amount of money they received from Microsoft. It’s a significant windfall for Big Cheese Studio, with the amount adding up to a full 22% of their net profit from the previous fiscal year, and all in all seems like a pretty big win for the Polish developers. Cooking Simulator has been out for three years now, so sliding into Game Pass is unlikely to cannibalize any sales, and this is likely to spur interest in the game and its string of free and paid DLC, while Microsoft gets to add another indie title to pad out its Game Pass offerings.

Microsoft is usually pretty cagey about how much they’re willing to shell to bring a title to Game Pass, leading to a lot of speculation about how much the games subscription model benefits developers and publishers, not to mention whether it’s good for indies, AAA studios, or somewhere in between. Big Cheese’s disclosure is an interesting peek behind the curtain.

Game Pass payment

There’s some interesting ways we could be looking at the amount paid here. With a US$ price on Steam of ~US$20, and assuming the usual 70-30 revenue split, the $600,000 price paid to Big Cheese would be the equivalent of the money they’d get from selling almost 43 thousand units of the base Cooking Simulator game in a single go. Given that it’s been a few years since launch, a sales figure is unlikely, let alone in a short time frame, though Big Cheese has been making a steady stream of free and paid DLC updates to the title alongside development of new games.

On the other side of things, given Game Pass’s reported user base of about 25 million users at the start of 2022, Microsoft has paid just about $0.024 per user to get Cooking Simulator into its subscription service.

Microsoft has been reportedly pretty flexible about the terms it gives to its publishing and developer partners in the Game Pass field, with contracts ranging from up-front payment, to development funding, to more traditional usage and store monetization terms like other streaming and subscription services, so there’s almost no real “standard” Game Pass contract or price to get a game into the service.

Cooking Simulator is available on the Microsoft Store for PC and Xbox consoles and is also playable through the cloud and via Game Pass.