Microsoft will be joining its competitors by raising the cost of its upcoming major first-party releases to $70. Starting in 2023, new titles for Xbox Series X|S and PC such as Redfall, Starfield, and Forza Motorsport will launch at $69.99. In a statement to IGN, a Microsoft spokesperson said, “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.”
The trend of bumping up big-budget releases from $60 to $70 on next-gen consoles began in earnest this year, with Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Sony’s first parties God of War: Ragnarök and Horizon Forbidden West, and others like Gotham Knights and The Callisto Protocol going for the increased cost. There are many explanations for this price boost, such as high global inflation and ballooning budgets for large-scale games. However, these justifications are somewhat undercut by the growing prevalence of monetization in many large-scale games, which use battle passes, loot boxes, cosmetic items, and other arguably predatory systems to extract a drip feed of money from their players.
Microsoft’s price increase was alluded to in October when Phil Spencer said, “I do think at some point we’ll have to raise the prices on certain things, but going into this holiday we thought it was important to maintain the prices. 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.” It remains to be seen if Xbox Series X|S console price increases are also on the horizon. In a largely unprecedented move for home consoles, Sony recently increased the base rate of the PlayStation 5 for most of the world, citing supply-chain issues and high global inflation rates.