Phil Spencer hints at future Xbox console, game and subscription price increases

Microsoft’s head of gaming Phil Spencer has suggested that Xbox consoles, games and subscriptions may increase in price in the future.

Speaking at WSJ Tech Live, the Xbox boss discussed the console’s price point, as well as the prospect of charging $70 for games – something most third-party publishers (and rival Sony) now do.

“I think at some point we’ll have to raise the prices on certain things,” Spencer said (via journalist Tom Warren), “but going into the holiday we thought it was important to maintain the prices.”

He added: “We’ve held price on our console, we’ve held price on games… and our subscription. I don’t think we’ll be able to do that forever. I do think at some point we’ll have to raise some prices on certain things…”

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In August, citing the challenging global economic environment, Sony raised PS5 prices in Europe, Japan, and parts of North America.

Following Sony’s announcement, the UK arms of both Microsoft and Nintendo told VGC that they weren’t currently planning to raise console prices.

Microsoft has so far held firm on this, instead seeing the Xbox platform as a way to move players to its Xbox Game Pass service, which offers games for a monthly fee, including Microsoft’s own first-party titles on the day of release.

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While some third-party publishers charge $70 / £70 across both platforms, Microsoft’s first-party games are largely priced at $60 / £50.

However, due to Game Pass, the reliance on sales of individual games vs the value of Game Pass has largely decreased for Microsoft, with the company no longer promoting sales numbers and instead touting the number of users on Game Pass.

This is in contrast to PlayStation which continues to release prestige first-party titles at $70 / £70 and has so far dismissed the suggestion of putting them on their equivalent service, PlayStation Plus.

Just last month Spencer told CNBCthat he believed it wasn’t the right time to increase the price of consoles.

“We’re always evaluating our business going forward. So, I don’t think we can ever say on anything that we will never do something,” he said.

“But when we look at our consoles today, and you talked about it—Series X and Series S—we think value is incredibly important. We love the position of Series S in the market, which is our lower cost console. Over half of our new players that we’re finding are coming in through Series S.

“And I can definitely say we have no plans today to raise the price of our consoles,” Spencer continued. “We think in a time when our customers are more economically challenged and uncertain than ever, we don’t think it’s the right move for us at this point to be raising prices on our console.”

Spencer said last month that he doesn’t think Microsoft will be able to satisfy demand for Xbox consoles this holiday season.