Do Next-Gen Game Prices Matter "If It’s Included In Game Pass?" Asks Microsoft

When asked in July, Xbox head Phil Spencer refused to comment on how much games for the Xbox Series X would cost, though it was estimated at the time that the price point would average $70. After PlayStation confirmed that most of its first-party games will average $70 on PS5, Microsoft has finally commented on the trend to increase pricing on titles for next-gen consoles.

While Activision and 2K have already increased the price of some next-gen games, other publishers have said they will continue to “monitor trends”. Meanwhile, Microsoft has noted that it will adopt a wide range of pricing with its first-party games. In an interview with the Real Deal Xbox podcast on Tuesday, Microsoft GM Aaron Greenberg said the issue of game pricing was “super-complex,” but insisted the company wanted to “put gamers first”.

Greenberg noted that its Smart Delivery and Game Pass programs make all its games available on day one as part of the standard subscription. “Our commitment and how we’ve approached this whole generation is all your gaming accessories work, we’re not going to make you pay again for next-gen versions of our games, we’re doing Smart Delivery… we’ve tried to be ‘fan-first’ in every way that we can,” he added.

In his opinion, the issue of pricing is not new, recalling that Ori and the Will of the Wisps had been launched for $30 on March 11. Greenberg also stated that Gears Tactics, which will be released on November 10, will list at $60, while State of Decay 2, released on May 22, 2018, was launched at $40.

Greenberg insists that $70 games are the exception, yet a premium is paid to play a game on day one. “I think what you’ve seen across the industry with a couple of notable exceptions is that most people… Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is at $60 for standard, Cyberpunk, Dirt 5… so I’m not seeing it,” he added.

Ubisoft has confirmed that launch titles like Assassin’s Cred Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion will be priced at $60 but can’t guarantee that next-gen releases won’t be listed at a premium price after the holidays. Despite the uproar over price increases, game pricing has remained stagnant since 2005, whereas TV and movie pricing has increased considerably.

Greenberg, however, contends that Microsoft has “taken a fan-centric approach [with pricing]. I’d say first with Smart Delivery, but most importantly you get all our games at launch in Game Pass, so does the price of the game even matter if it’s included in your Game Pass subscription?” he said.

Some industry heads simply believe that increased game pricing is directly related to the growing cost of developing games, while others defend that the price increase is due to market demand. Either way, it seems we’ll all be digging a little deeper into our pockets for next-gen games.

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