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Xbox Price Rise is an Understandable Disappointment

Xbox games will increase from $60 to $70 starting next year, and that’s a massive disappointment. Any price rise is understandable, but still disappointing.


They’re not the first to do it. They join the likes of Sony, Activision and others in raising their base prices. And, of course, it helps that all these games go into Game Pass day one anyway. The price rise will hit those unwilling to subscribe but still interested in playing the hardest. During a cost of living crisis.

Listen, I don’t expect any publisher to operate on heart alone. I’ve written repeatedly about the increase in costs since the PS2 era, and the fact that the cost of buying a game has remained largely the same. The people who make our games need to cover their costs. That is a defence I’ve used for DLC, for microtransactions and for many other issues that have hit our industry.

And, ultimately, it does make Game Pass more attractive. It increases the perceived value of what you’re getting, even if you’re not getting any more than you would have done otherwise.

But none of this changes the fact that it is disappointing. They told IGN:

“This price reflects the content, scale, and technical complexity of these titles. As with all games developed by our teams at Xbox, they will also be available with Game Pass the same day they launch.”

At a time when people are finding it harder and harder to pay the rent and heat their homes, an extra $10 on a video game they’re looking forward to is a lot of money. It is another increased cost in a list of increased costs. And profitable Xbox, part of very profitable Microsoft, do not need the increase.

Price Rise and the “Right” Stuff

The right price for a game is the price that people are willing to pay for it. And if anything has been proven in the last couple of years, it’s that people are willing to pay $70.

A price rise isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Inflation is a pain, and publishers deserve to make money on their products. A successful game without razor-thin margins is massively more attractive than one that barely makes anything. This is why Sony has shifted their outlook to massive blockbusters. They want to have multiple hits on their hands every single year.

Microsoft have gone the other way. They want to use Game Pass to offer a wide variety of games. Pentiment proves this. They want you to pay monthly for something that is well worth the cost. It’s not necessarily an event like God of War is an event. And that’s fine, because the first time God of War fails, a third of your year is messed up.

With that in mind, the Xbox price rise is a bit disappointing. With Game Pass being so attractive and price increases so far being the tactics of other companies, it seems like they’re just taking advantage of a changing market. Hell, that is all they’re doing. That $70 is accepted now, so why not change?

I guess it all comes down to optics. Most will shrug their shoulders, especially if they have Game Pass. This increase makes no difference to me directly and it probably never will.

But, like with others, it’s an expense some people could really do without.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott