Microsoft raising base price of first-party Xbox games from $60 to $70

(Xbox Photo)

Microsoft plans to increase the base price for some of its first-party, internally-produced video games in 2023.

Xbox’s first three big releases of the year —Forza Motorsport, Redfall, and Starfield—will launch during the first half of 2023 at a starting MSRP of $69.99. This marks a $10 increase from the previous standard, which was last raised at the launch of the Xbox 360 in 2005.

“We’ve held on price releases until after the holidays so families can enjoy the gift of gaming,” a Microsoft spokesperson told GeekWire via email. “Starting in 2023, our new, built for next-gen, full-priced games will launch at $69.99 USD on all platforms.”

“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.”

For casual fans, it’s important to highlight the “new, built for next-gen, full-priced” portion of Microsoft’s statement. This broadly refers to the category of video games that fans and developers often call “AAA”: big-budget productions targeted at a mainstream audience and published on physical media, such as last year’s Halo Infinite.

Comparatively, several recent Xbox exclusives have launched at prices well below $60. For example, Xbox recently published Obsidian’s Pentiment, a narrative adventure RPG, at $19.99.

This increase will bring Microsoft’s first-party games up to the same maximum price point as Sony’s, some of which, such as the recently-released God of War: Ragnarok, have been retailing for $70 since the launch of the PlayStation 5 in 2020.

Sony also previously announced a price hike for the PlayStation 5 in August that affected Europe, the UK, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Canada.

Nintendo, at time of writing, is still holding the line at $60 for first-party Switch exclusives like Pokemon Violet and Scarlet. In its November earnings brief, Nintendo told shareholders that it has no plans to increase the base MSRP for the Switch hardware.

Xbox head Phil Spencer made headlines in October during a WSJ Live interview, noting that Microsoft would eventually have to raise its asking prices for products in its game division.

Phil Spencer hints at future Xbox Game Pass or console price increases at WSJ Live

“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.”

— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) October 26, 2022

In response to a question about the possibility of price increases for Xbox hardware, an Xbox representative told GeekWire that “we are constantly evaluating our business to offer our fans great gaming options that are priced in-line with local market conditions.”

“With today’s economic landscape, we may need to adjust our pricing in the future to continue to offer gamers the quality experiences they’ve come to expect of Xbox,” said the representative.” We have nothing to announce at this time.”

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