Are first-party Xbox Series X game prices increasing? For next-gen, some publishers have begun to increase their game prices, including Sony, who, for example, is charging $70 for Demon's Souls on PS5. So far, Microsoft has made zero changes to its pricing structure for the new generation of gaming on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, but that could change. When recently asked about whether or not Microsoft plans to increase the prices of its first-party games, Xbox CFO Tim Stuart was notably non-committal. And if you're familiar with this industry, you'll know being non-committal usually doesn't come before good news.
According to Stuart, Microsoft will reveal its first-party pricing plan "in due time." From the sounds of it, Microsoft already knows what these plans are, but for now, it's not divulging these plans. Why does this hint at a price increase? Well, because if Microsoft's plans didn't include an increase, they would have said so already because it would be a big PR win. Again, when you have something good to announce, you typically aren't gun-shy about announcing it.
“I think we’re not making specific announcements on first-party pricing yet,” said Jefferies via Seeking Alpha. “So we’ll do that in due time.”
Continuing his response, Stuart notes game prices haven't increased in years, which means games are cheaper than they have been in years when you factor in inflation. Meanwhile, older gamers will remember when some games would charge much more than $60.
“Prices have not gone up in — what, for a couple of generations now, so it’s not unheard of to see things like this going on,” said Stuart. And to the point earlier, content creation costs go up. And these publishers and content creators, including ourselves, want to make sure you’re driving the right gross margin profiles, the right earnings profiles of what it takes to build these new, awesome, amazing games. And you want to make sure you have a good topline to support that.”
It's quite possible Microsoft will continue its consumer-friendly streak and not increase game prices, but it's going to cost it a lot of money. If you sell 5 million copies of a game for an extra $10, that's $50 million. And that's just one game.
From the outside looking in, Stuart's comments don't scream "price increase coming," but in-between the lines, that's at least what they suggest.