Publishing giants such as Sony and 2K have already made up their minds about charging gamers a $10 premium for their biggest next-gen titles, but pricing games at $69.99 doesn’t seem to be something that Microsoft is rushing into.
During yesterday’s RDX Podcast (via VGC), Xbox marketing boss Aaron Greenberg was asked whether Microsoft would be selling its first-party titles at a higher cost. While he failed to provide a clear-cut answer, he did point out that Xbox games have released at various prices – some as low as $30, in fact. He also mentioned that Gears Tactics, a major Xbox Games Studios release, will debut on the Xbox Series X at the standard $60 price point.
“Gaming pricing is a super-complex thing to answer because in the old days, every game launched at one price, and that was it,” Greenberg explained. “But we launched Ori and the Will of the Wisps for $30, and Gears Tactics is a new title launching this holiday, and it’s launching at $60. State of Decay 2 launched at $40. So there’s not a simple answer to that except to say that Tactics, we’re launching at $60.”
Another point he made was that premium pricing appears to be the exception rather than the rule. This is evidenced by titles such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077, which are releasing at $60 despite being two of the year’s biggest titles – blockbusters that could definitely get away with being sold at a premium.
“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,” Greenberg said.
“There are some exceptions of titles where you’ve seen, particularly for sports games, where they’re coming out in advance of the next generation and because they don’t have Smart Delivery, they’re including the gen 9 version and charging you more. So it’s a little bit complex there.”
Regardless of what other companies are doing, Greenberg did note that Microsoft is taking a “fan-centric” approach when it comes to pricing, which suggests that Xbox users may not be subject to any unexpected premiums.
“It’s a different approach and they obviously have a right to do whatever they want with their products and pricing, but for us we’ve really taken a fan-centric approach [with pricing]” he noted.
There’s also Xbox Game Pass to think about. In the event that Microsoft were to raise the prices of its first-party titles, Greenberg doesn’t think that would really matter thanks to the subscription service’s huge catalog and relatively low monthly fee.
“…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 questioned.