After Xbox Lead Phil Spencer hinted at a price hike in some of the company’s gaming services, Microsoft finally revealed today that it would specifically affect its first-party games. Starting in 2023, the Redmond company will charge $69.99 instead of the usual $59.99 on its upcoming first-party Xbox games, including Forza Motorsport, Redfall, and Starfield.
“We’ve held on price increases until after the holidays so families can enjoy the gift of gaming. Starting in 2023 our new, built for next-gen, full-priced games, including Forza Motorsport, Redfall, and Starfield, will launch at $69.99 USD on all platforms,” Microsoft explains in the statement. “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.”
Then again, this price increase is inevitable as first divulged by Spencer, though the Microsoft Gaming CEO didn’t particularly mention the sections that would be affected.
“For us running the business, we have to look at the return on our business, the cost of the business. We’ve held price on consoles, and held price on games, and our subscription. I don’t think we’ll be able to do that forever.” Spencer said at that time. “I do think that at some point, we’ll have to raise some prices on certain things, but going into this holiday, we thought it was really important to maintain the prices that we have because consumers, right now, are more uncertain than they have been in a long time.”
While Spencer didn’t mention the reason for the said increase, the energy crisis in Europe affecting Microsoft’s budget needs (up to $800 million) for running its cloud services probably has a huge contribution to the decision. With this, certain game offerings of Microsoft will soon be priced at the same range as the other games from its competitors like Take-Two Interactive and Sony Interactive Entertainment, which raised their prices earlier than the software giant. This affects Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Marvel’s Midnight Suns, and God of War Ragnarök, which now all launch at $70.
In related news, Microsoft is still fighting to close its proposed $69 billion Activision deal as different regulators around the globe perform their own investigations. In the recently published documents by the UK’s watchdog, Sony expresses fears about the possibility of the merger giving Microsoft power to increase its subscription service pricing. The company has always been critical of the deal as it claims it would be used by Microsoft to keep away the Call of Duty games from PlayStation, though it repeatedly denied it and even offered Sony a longer 10-year licensing deal. With this new action from Microsoft, it is interesting how Sony will react and if it will use this as a new subject for its protest.