Next-gen price hike issue is “complex”, says Xbox exec

“In the old days, every game launched at one price and that was it”

Microsoft has remained tight-lipped on the price of its next-gen first-party games, but one Xbox exec has suggested that the issue isn’t as simple as a US$10 price hike.

During an appearance on the Real Deal podcast, Aaron Greenburg, the general manager of games marketing at Xbox, described the issue as “super complex” while pointing at the Xbox Series X and S’ ecosystem of features, such as Smart Delivery and Game Pass, as solutions.

“What you’ve seen from us is we want to put gamers first,” he said. “Our commitment and how we’ve approached this whole generation is […] we’re not going to make you pay again for next-gen versions of our games, we’re doing Smart Delivery […] we’ve tried to be fan-first in every way that we can.”

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Greenburg also noted that game pricing is a “super complex thing to answer” for the current and upcoming generations, as titles no longer launch at a uniform price point.

“In the old days, every game launched at one price and that was it,” he added. “But we launched Ori And The Will Of The Wisps at $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.”

Gears Tactics Squad
Gears Tactics. Credit: Xbox Game Studios

The Xbox marketing chief then suggested that a price increase for next-gen might be the expectation rather than the rule, noting that upcoming titles like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077 and Dirt 5 are all set to launch at US$60.

“We’ve really taken a fan-centric approach, first with Smart Delivery, and most importantly, you get all our games at launch with Game Pass,” Greenburg said. “So does the price of a game even matter, if it’s included in your Game Pass subscription?”

In contrast, both Sony and Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of studios such as Rockstar Games and 2K Games, have confirmed that they will be raising the price of some of their next-gen games.

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Microsoft is expected to release its two next-gen consoles, the Xbox Series X and S, on November 10. The company recently revealed that the systems will allow users to “selectively uninstall” parts of games that allow the function in order to help with the management of storage space.

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