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Microsoft to charge $70 for first-party Xbox games, starting next year

Microsoft's move to increase the price of the first-party, flagship games comes at a time when the development cost in making high-budget games have quadrupled.

 Bethesda's Starfield is poised to be a big seller and a significant driver for Xbox Game Pass and Xbox consoles in 2023.
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Microsoft is planning to raise the price of big-budget games in 2023, from $60 to $70. The higher sticker price will apply to games from the company’s first-party studios like Bethesda Studio Starfield and Turn 10 Studios’ Forza  Motorsport, both due next year.

“A $70 MSRP  “reflects the content, scale, and technical complexity of these titles,” a Microsoft spokesperson told IGN. The spokesperson added that these games will be available through GamePass, Microsoft’s game subscription service, starting at $10 a month.

Microsoft’s move to increase the price of the first-party, flagship games comes at a time when the development cost in making high-budget games have quadrupled. Over the last couple of years, marketing budgets for first-party games have increased due to intense competition from the popularity of Fortnite and Genshin Impact, all of which are free-to-play.

The Redmond company isn’t alone in setting the price of flagship games to $70. Grand Theft Auto maker Take-Two was the first to charge a higher-than-normal $70 for NBA2K21 on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in 2020. At the time, the publisher said that the revised price would apply on a “title-by-title” price. That year, Sony too announced that it would start charging $70 for big-budget games for the PlayStation 5. Big gaming companies like Activision, Ubisoft and Square Enix have all started charging $70 for big games.

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Publishers first started asking for $60 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 way back in 2006. The cost of games has remained the same since then. While $70 may seem high for a game, the point to be noted is that such games require lengthy development time to achieve the scale envisioned by the game developer. High inflation is also playing a role in the rising prices of games.

The good news is that there are now multiple ways to play a flagship game without paying $60 or $70. Players can subscribe to Microsoft’s Game Pass and Sony’s PlayStation Now, Netflix-style subscription services which are more accessible ways to play big-ticket games. Users also have the option to enjoy and play high-quality mobile games on Apple Arcade.

First published on: 07-12-2022 at 10:27 IST
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