When it rains it pours, and right now Microsoft is navigating some flood-like backlash in light of the Xbox One price, used-game policy and outright requirement of a broadband connection if you want to play games. The latest cloud to pass over Redmond came in the form of a confirmation of first-party Xbox One game prices: $59.99, the same price as most current-gen Xbox 360 games.
Between the Xbox and Xbox 360 generations, Microsoft and other game publishers increased the MSRP for video games by $10, from $49.99 to $59.99. The pricing strategy followed suit for Sony’s PS3. At the time, the MSRP bump was attributed to the increased cost of developing games for the then-next-gen systems. As we move from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One, it appears the pricing will avoid a similar $10 jump, in spite of developers such as Cliffy B. from Epic Games saying the days of cheap and used games are all but over.
In a note to Polygon, a Microsoft representative said “I can confirm that Microsoft Studios games on Xbox One will be $59.99 (MSRP).” The comment says nothing about third-party games from publishers such as Activision, EA and Ubisoft, but it’s logical to expect those publishers to follow Microsoft’s lead.
Sony has not yet confirmed pricing for PS4 games, but it’s been widely expected that PS4 games will carry the same $59.99 MSRP as current PS3 games whether published by SCEA or a third-party company. Before E3, speculation ran wild that Xbox One games and PS4 games could carry MSRPs as high as $79.99.
Earlier this week, while analyzing Microsoft’s Xbox One used-game policy, we considered the possibility that the strict DRM elements could be counterbalanced by charging a lower MSRP for Xbox One games. If publishers could make up the price difference (and then some) by tapping into a used-game market that they currently can’t touch, Microsoft’s DRM strategy could make complete sense. It could also be enough of a differentiator to compel the Xbox One to win the next-gen console war. (Seriously, you should read the article.)
However, based on tonight’s email confirmation that Xbox One first-party games will cost $59.99, that analysis appears to be little more than a pipe dream. Gamers who have sent in their Xbox One pre-order (even the Day One Edition) can take solace in the fact that games shouldn’t cost any more than they do now. But we’ve had so much interest in the analysis linked above that tonight’s news of Xbox One game prices is bound to disappoint a few folks who were holding out hope for a lower MSRP.