In a prime example of PR fence-sitting, Xbox marketing head describes the issue as 'complex' entrenching Microsoft's noncommittal stance.
Xbox seemingly can’t make its mind up about next-gen game pricing.
In a prime example of PR fence-sitting, Xbox’s marketing head Aaron Greenberg described the issue as ‘super complex’ during Tuesday’s episode of the Real Deal Xbox podcast.
Asked if Xbox had its eye on following in the footsteps of several publishers and introducing a price premium for next-gen titles, $70 in most cases, Greenberg noted that Xbox aims to ‘put gamers first.’
The marketing lead pointed, in particular, to the value of features such as Smart Delivery and not making players buy twice for next-gen versions of games.
In regards to Microsoft strategy on next-gen pricing, Greenberg added:
“Gaming pricing is super complex to answer because in the old days, every game launched at one price and that was it. But, we launched, I think Ori and the Will of the Wisps is $30 right now and Gears Tactics is a new title launching this holiday, 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.”
In the Xbox marketing head’s estimation, the $70 price tag remains an exception rather than a standard widely adopted across the gaming industry.
Greenberg offered the example of big-name AAA releases like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 sticking to the $60 price point. He went on to note that some publishers are going a different route. Indeed, Sony’s next-gen slate broadly adopts the $70 game price.
“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. I’d say first with Smart Delivery, but most importantly 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?”
Reading between the lines, it’s hard to determine in which direction Xbox is currently leaning. Greenberg’s words suggest even Microsoft isn’t quite sure presently and it’s keen on keeping the door open without fully committing. It’s all rather reminiscent of Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s similarly noncommittal stance on the matter back in the summer.
While we may not see any $70 first-party Xbox titles in the near-future (primarily due to a glaring drought after Halo Infinite’s delay), we can’t discount the gaming giant upping prices in the future.