Microsoft is the latest well-known publisher to raise the launch price of big-budget games to $70. The company stated that the new pricing will begin in 2023 for games developed for the Xbox Series X/S, including Starfield, Redfall, and the upcoming Forza Motorsport.

A Microsoft spokesperson stated that the MSRP of $70 “reflects the content, scale, and technical complexity of these titles.”

Microsoft is not currently raising the price of its Game Pass subscriptions, which include launch-day access to all of Microsoft’s first-party titles, despite the price increase for a la carte purchases. However, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer stated at a WSJ Live event last month that he believed “at some point, we’ll have to raise some prices on certain things…”

The last time publishers raised the price cap on games was in 2006, when a lot of big-budget PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games started going for $60. In 2020, Take-Two was the first to sell NBA2K21 for $70 on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X editions. The publisher stated at the time that prices would continue to be determined “title by title basis.”

Since then, Sony, Activision, Square Enix, Warner Bros., and others have begun experimenting with $70 launch prices for a few of their most popular games. Additionally, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told Axios in September that the company’s “big AAA games,” such as the frequently postponed Skull & Bones, would start at $70.

Even though the highest point for nominal game prices is $70, big-budget games used to be significantly more expensive when inflation was taken into account, as we detailed in a 2020 report. Additionally, the US economy has experienced months of rapid price inflation since 2020, making a $70 price more relative. The same brisk inflation has been used to justify practically unprecedented price hikes for hardware like the Meta Quest 2 VR headset and PS5 versions sold in other countries.

Today’s big-budget games face strong competition from a wide range of free or cheap-to-play titles and gaming subscription plans like Microsoft’s Games Pass, even though $70 is less than it used to be. However, “the biggest franchises that drive the highest demand should have no big hurdles with that $70 base price point… and many will choose even higher-priced versions with additional content.” as NPD analyst Mat Piscatella stated to Ars Technica in 2020.

Topics #Microsoft #Microsoft games #Starfield game