Following the lead of Sony and others, Activision brought the $70 game to Steam this year with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Next year, Microsoft will follow suit, too: The company told IGN that beginning in 2023, the standard price of its new first-party games, including Starfield and Redfall, will be increased from $60 to $70.
"This price reflects the content, scale, and technical complexity of these titles," a Microsoft spokesperson told IGN. "As with all games developed by our teams at Xbox, they will also be available with Game Pass the same day they launch."
That's US pricing, of course. Regional pricing can differ—Modern Warfare 2, for instance, currently costs $90 in Canada—but Microsoft did not comment on how the price increase would be reflected in other countries. In a separate statement sent to PC Gamer, Microsoft confirmed that the price increase will apply "across console and PC storefronts."
Xbox boss Phil Spencer mused on the possibility of price increases at the Wall Street Journal Live conference (via Tom Warren) earlier this year, although he said at the time that Microsoft had decided "it was important to maintain [current] prices" through the 2022 holiday season.
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."October 26, 2022
Development budgets on major releases like Starfield continue to balloon, while prices have more or less held steady: Literally every Call of Duty Game since Black Ops 3 in 2015, whether on Steam or Battle.net, was—and remains—priced at $59.99. Nobody likes price increases, but from that perspective at least, it's hard to argue that we aren't due for at least a little bit of a jump. It's also worth noting that Microsoft isn't leading this charge, but following: Sony and Take-Two have already bumped the costs of some of their games, and Ubisoft said earlier this year that its upcoming major releases will also be priced at $70.
And, because I am of a certain age, I will share with you what The Bard's Tale cost when it came out in 1985:
That $76.95, according to various online inflation calendars, works out to about $204 today. The Canadian dollar was trading around 85 cents US through 1985, which drops the converted price down to $174 US—still an awful lot of money for one videogame.
The coming price hikes make Microsoft's Game Pass seem even more attractive than it already is. It's a hell of a deal, but it's reasonable to assume that its price may increase too once Microsoft is satisfied with the size of its subscriber base. The price of Netflix has increased steadily over the past decade. On that front, Microsoft declined to comment.
"We are constantly evaluating our business to offer our fans great gaming options that are priced in-line with local market conditions," the company said. "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. We have nothing to announce at this time."
Starfield doesn't have a release date yet, by the way, but it's currently expected to be out sometime in the first half of 2023.