Xbox’s Aaron Greenberg Says They Aim For “Fan-Centric” Approach, But Next Gen Pricing Is Complex Issue

Aaron Greenberg also says their pricing doesn't matter as much with Xbox Game Pass anyway.

Posted By | On 07th, Oct. 2020

Xbox Series X_S

While there’s lots to be excited about for the upcoming new generation of consoles, from the new tech to the new games, at least one thing has been less than a joy for some: price. The systems themselves are not too terribly priced for what you’re getting, but it seems like the games themselves are on their way to seeing a hike. While some companies are keeping their cross-gen titles at the standard $59.99 we’ve had for over a decade, others aren’t. 2K was the first to charge an extra $10 premium for next gen versions of NBA 2K 21, and then Activision did the same for the next Call of Duty. Probably the biggest indication was Sony confirming their next generation titles will be $69.99 (with an even bigger hike in other regions), which others followed on afterward. It seems inevitable that will become the new standard eventually, but what about Microsoft? Well, it seems to be kind of complicated.

Speaking on the Real Deal Xbox podcast, Xbox Head of Marketing Aaron Greenberg talked about price. While he largely avoided whether or not Microsoft would eventually price their first party titles at $69.99 once they leave cross-gen development, he said that they want to be as “fan-first” as possible, but admitted the topic was a complex one, and that we’re in a period where games are launching at various different price points anyway, so it’s hard to find a standard now as other publishers haven’t committed to a price hike as of yet.

“Gaming pricing is a super-complex thing to answer because in the old days, every game launched at one price and that was it. But we launched Ori and the Will of the Wisps for $30 and Gears Tactics is a new title launching this holiday and it’s launching at $60. State of Decay 2 launched at $40. So there’s not a simple answer to that except to say that Tactics we’re launching at $60.

“I think what you’ve seen across the industry with a couple of notable exceptions is that most people… Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is at $60 for standard, Cyberpunk, Dirt 5… so I’m not seeing it.

“There are some exceptions of titles where you’ve seen, particularly for sports games, where they’re coming out in advance of the next generation and because they don’t have Smart Delivery, they’re including the gen 9 version and charging you more. So It’s a little bit complex there.

“It’s a different approach and they obviously have a right to do whatever they want with their products and pricing, but for us we’ve really taken a fan-centric approach [with pricing].”

As Greenberg also points out later in the podcast, Microsoft’s pricing for individual releases also isn’t as important with their Xbox Game Pass program that sees all their first party titles available for a flat monthly fee. But there are still people who do buy titles, even on Xbox I imagine, so it’ll be relevant to someone in the end. At this point, it seems like that $10 increase (or whatever is the equivalent in your region) is an inevitability in the end.


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