An interesting yet not surprising set of rumors has cropped up from known leaker Idle Sloth. Idle Sloth has had a sporadic track record when it comes to rumors, but has in the past gotten several correct demonstrating either Sherlock powers of deduction or insider knowledge.
In a recent post, he makes ten predictions for 2021. The largest being the acquisition of Sega, which has been rumored for some time. More probable is the prediction Ubisoft will add their titles to the Game Pass in 2021.
Top 10 Biggest Rumors About Xbox
— Idle Sloth 🙅🏻♂️1️⃣2️⃣❎ (@IdleSloth84) December 25, 2020
The other rumors will be covered in the analysis, so at this point, there is no purpose to further comment on them.
Rumor Analysis: Maybe
From a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense for Ubisoft to put their library on Game Pass. Doing so puts their titles into the hands of people who can be converted into new customers. More importantly, it also puts their games with live service mechanics into people’s hands for free. Increasing either the likelihood people will pay for said features or draws in more people willing to pay for them.
Ubisoft might also be in a position where their options are limited. This last year saw several high-level departures and dismissals with cause. Many titles that were delayed into this year were delayed into next year or saw no significant announcements on their progress. Further Watch Dogs: Legion’s sales were a fraction of the fraction Watch Dogs 2’s sales were of the original. Immortal Fenyx Rising also flopped in sales, failing to make the top ten list for the week it launched. Valhalla is reported to have done well with significant launch figures and staying power as it maintained momentum after launch. Doing so well as to place 4th in the same week Immortal Fenyx Rising launched.
It is unlikely Valhalla sold enough to support two failures and several delays. Coupled with Ubisoft’s high-level departures and terminations, management needs an action to look good to investors. Something a Game Pass deal would accomplish under the right terms.
On the Microsoft side of the equation, they have secured a similar deal with Electronic Arts and have expressed they will continue expanding the game pass service. Including Ubisoft’s titles would be a huge boon for the company and a driving force for the adoption of their consoles. Thus it is in their best interest to pursue such a deal.
As for the source, that’s another matter. He has predicted some things, and other things might have been correct at one point but fell through. That happens in the industry and is something people need to understand about leaks and rumors. At the time they happen, a lot of them are true or in the works, but then plans change.
Microsoft is rumored to be in talks or has nearly finished a deal to purchase a Japanese gaming company. The Sega rumor has floated around for some time, yet From Software has also been stated to be another potential target. It remains possible one part of Microsoft is actively attempting to purchase Sega. Whether such an attempt succeeds or not is another matter. What is known is Sega has become making closer ties with Microsoft and would be a great branding tool for the Xbox in Japan. There is logic in and for the attempt.
His other predictions aren’t as bold or revolutionary. Of course, Microsoft is going to acquire another solid exclusive title. Just as they are going to make Bethesda’s titles exclusive to the Xbox. Inexile working on a big AAA title was confirmed back in September. Obsidian’s six titles are Grounded, A non-violent RPG developed by Sawyer and a small team, Avowed, The Outer Worlds 2, a game lead by Brandon Adler, and the last game is unknown with some suspecting it could be DLC for the Outer Worlds, but it equally could be a Fallout spinoff with the acquisition of Bethesda.
Game Pass expanding into new markets is not really a prediction as Microsoft has aggressively pushed the service to drive console and software sales. Microsoft’s big acquisition is unknown, but Sega and From Software have been floated as candidates for some time. The Farm 51, whose publisher is in dire financial straits after chasing one too many trends, is likely the rumored polish acquisition.
His predictions are either informed by a source or solid guesswork. Without distinguishing which is the case, we cannot take his word as gospel, especially as he has gotten things wrong or had rumors that did not pan out. What should be noted is these are his predictions, not statements of direct knowledge.
What will determine if the Ubisoft rumor comes to pass is whether Ubisoft and Microsoft can work out a deal. It is extremely unlikely Microsoft has not approached Ubisoft with an offer, but whether they take it is another matter entirely. Thus this part of the rumor is maybe more so because it depends on whether two companies can work out an arrangement and less so the source’s validity. The rest aside from the Sega acquisition are nearly a guarantee, with the big acquisition being the only unknown and uncertain element of the rumor.