Xbox head Phil Spencer has responded to news that some next-gen games will raise their price on next-gen consoles, stating that he believes “the customer will decide what the right price is for them.”
Earlier this month publisher 2K announced that the next instalment in its NBA 2K series will cost $70 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and other game publishers are reportedly also considering raising their game prices on the next-gen consoles.
Asked about the news by The Washington Post, Spencer reportedly would not comment on how much Xbox’s first-party games will cost, but stressed that games come at a larger variety of price points than ever before.
“As an industry, we can price things whatever we want to price them, and the customer will decide what the right price is for them,” Spencer said.
“I’m not negative on people setting a new price point for games because I know everybody’s going to drive their own decisions based on their own business needs. But gamers have more choice today than they ever have. In the end, I know the customer is in control of the price that they pay, and I trust that system.”
All of Microsoft‘s first-party games will support Smart Delivery and be available via its Game Pass service.
On Smart Delivery, the initiative that allows customers to buy a game once and unlock it on multiple platforms, Spencer suggested it was a way for users to pressure publishers into providing better value from their games.
“With the ability to name things [like Smart Delivery], it allows our customers to ask questions of publishers,” Spencer said. “It’s a set of expectations customers should have for content.”
As reported by VGC earlier this month, Xbox has told developers that they cannot charge players to upgrade their current-gen games to Xbox Series X versions as DLC, as an alternative to its free Smart Delivery scheme.
According to publishing sources with knowledge of Microsoft’s next-gen policies, companies working on cross-gen games have been encouraged to offer both current and next-gen versions at no additional cost, either via Smart Delivery or through their own schemes such as EA’s Dual Entitlement.
However, developers and publishers who choose not to support Smart Delivery can still offer owners of current-gen games a discount on purchasing a second next-gen version of the game on the Microsoft Store. Theoretically, third-party publishers could also charge for physical game upgrades via their own schemes, such as via retailer promotions.