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Opinion Business Game Dev Xbox’s Aaron Greenberg discusses $70 game pricing and says it’s a ‘complex’ issue

IbizaPocholo

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Speaking to the Real Deal Xbox podcast on Tuesday, Aaron Greenberg called the issue of game pricing “super-complex” and noted that Microsoft had recently adopted a wide range of pricing with its first-party games.

Greenberg also pointed to the value of its Smart Delivery and Game Pass programs, the latter of which makes all its games available on day one as part of the standard subscription.

Asked if Xbox will increase its game prices on Xbox Series X and S, Greenberg said: “What you’ve seen from us is we want to put gamers first.

“Our commitment and how we’ve approached this whole generation is all your gaming accessories work, we’re not going to make you pay again for next-gen versions of our games, we’re doing Smart Delivery… we’ve tried to be ‘fan-first’ in every way that we can.”

He added: “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”.

The marketing boss went on to suggest that $70 games were currently an exception and named several launch titles that wouldn’t carry the premium pricing.

Ubisoft launch titles Assassin’s Cred Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion will be priced at $60, for example, but the publisher hasn’t ruled out next-gen releases post-Christmas 2020 coming at a premium price.

“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,” he said.

“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].

“I’d say first with Smart Delivery, but most importantly you get all our games at launch in Game Pass, so does the price of the game even matter if it’s included in your Game Pass subscription?”
 

DrScissorsMD

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The cynic in me thinks they’ll let Sony/EA/whoever “test the waters” and that people will still buy the games just as much and adopt the pricing too, but then I wonder if they try and stick to current pricing where possible (or offset the pricing with cheaper Indy titles like they’ve done so far) to try and have another selling point against the competition. It’s similar on Sony side in that not all 1st party are $70, are they? Plus I wonder how Gamepass factors in to it; does it make Gamepass look like even better value? Does it emphasise the discount for game purchases when subbed, especially if the discount takes the game back to the current $60 price point (or lower)? Interesting times.
 
Dec 29, 2018
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After all the flak that Sony was getting this warrants some popcorn

 

MrFunSocks

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Sony are doing $70 because they're losing more money on the Digital Edition PS5 IMO. People that want that console will have to pay $70 for first party games.

$70 at retail for physical copies is irrelevant, because no one ever actually pays full retail price. Here in Australia our RRP is AUD$100 for games, yet everywhere apart from EB Games sells them for between $75 and $89 on release. Not just on sale, that's literally the price they release at and never go up.
 

Barakov

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Sorry but there are few games that warrant the $70 price tag. You factor in dlc, battle passes, MTX etc. and this looks more and more as greed to me. I've gotten to the point that I'm more than happy to wait for a price on a game I want to come down.
 

Edgelord79

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Sep 24, 2020
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It's not greed. What was the RRP for PS1 games? Super Nintendo games?

You missed the part about microtransactions in the post you were responding to. Those systems you mentioned didn't have that. Furthermore, games back then came as a finished product and not in incomplete states or with content purposely held back for DLC.

The issue isn't that games are going up in purchase price, it's that these same games double dip by cutting content behind even more paywalls. It's never "just' another $10.
 

laser_printer

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The cynic in me thinks they’ll let Sony/EA/whoever “test the waters” and that people will still buy the games just as much and adopt the pricing too, but then I wonder if they try and stick to current pricing where possible (or offset the pricing with cheaper Indy titles like they’ve done so far) to try and have another selling point against the competition. It’s similar on Sony side in that not all 1st party are $70, are they? Plus I wonder how Gamepass factors in to it; does it make Gamepass look like even better value? Does it emphasise the discount for game purchases when subbed, especially if the discount takes the game back to the current $60 price point (or lower)? Interesting times.
Oh fully expect 70 dollars, guaranteed.

Did everyone suddenly forget when the Ps2/Xbox were on their way out the past 2 years that most games, even ones that didn’t justify it, were suddenly having collectors/deluxe/special editions for 60 dollars? Since about 2017 that’s been the case, shit, even Madden/NBA//2k games have 70 dollar deluxe editions.

Granted, some have tried to ease the blow like fighting games having their entire first batch of DLC be included (guilty, I bought marvel infinite deluxe for 70 and feel like a real retard for that one), ghost of Tsushima had a 70 dollar deluxe, most Ubisoft games have one, etc.

The interest was there enough to show that consumer’s bought them enough they feel comfortable to do 70. Microsoft first party games were supposed to be 50 dollars on the 360 till Gears showed them that they’d have to make their money back somehow.

That being said, I don’t get it and I do. 70 bucks for 12 hours of fun isn’t that bad, I’ve bought IMAX movie theater tickets for me and my spouse that we’re 30 bucks each for certain movies that were only 2 hours long. Video games are heavily favored in the players favor regardless of how we look at it. No one can argue The Witcher 3, Horizon Zero Dawn, Yakuza 0 and plenty of others weren’t worth the 60 dollar asking price and they’re sellable (if you have the disc version, good luck getting your money back on a shit movie like Rise of Skywalker)
 
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The first wave of 70 dollar games will be critical to whether or not the practice is a success. People not waiting a single month for these $70 games to drop in price are agreeing to spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars more in their lifetime on games.

You can laugh, you can tell yourself it's inevitable and you have no power but it's the truth of the matter. Makes no difference to me. People with no self control should pay more. Just a bunch of drooling idiots desperate to be separated from their money.
 
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mikefrails

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Mind you they're doing this in the midst of devs complaining about crunch, bloated games with more content than necessary, and there just straight up being nothing to justify the price hike.
 

MastaKiiLA

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Games have cost $70 in the past. Games are expensive to make. Profit margins can be tight, and we don't want to see studios continue to fold or get bought out, simply because they can't survive on their own. Don't complain about the direction the industry is heading when you're so eager to complain about a price hike that still pales in comparison to other forms of entertainment where prices have more than doubled. If games increased the same way music and movies have, then we should be paying over $100 per game by now. Support the artists. One or two fewer games per year is worth the continued increase in fidelity we've gotten. All IMO.
 

MrFunSocks

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You missed the part about microtransactions in the post you were responding to. Those systems you mentioned didn't have that. Furthermore, games back then came as a finished product and not in incomplete states or with content purposely held back for DLC.

The issue isn't that games are going up in purchase price, it's that these same games double dip by cutting content behind even more paywalls. It's never "just' another $10.
Games back then were one and done - released and that's it, no more content, no updates, no patches, nothing. They cost a tiny fraction of what a game costs now, yet they were the same RRP as games up to this generation.

The first wave of 70 dollar games will be critical to whether or not the practice is a success. People not waiting a single month for these $70 games to drop in price are agreeing to spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars more in their lifetime on games.

You can laugh, you can tell yourself it's inevitable and you have no power but it's the truth of the matter. Makes no difference to me. People with no self control should pay more. Just a bunch of drooling idiots desperate to be separated from their money.

In the USA do all stores sell games at RRP or something? Like I said in another post, here in Australia the *only* place that sells games at RRP (other than digital stores on the consoles) is EB Games. Everywhere else sells them between $20 and $30 below RRP on day 1. You're a chump if you pay RRP, basically - or a parent/grandparent that thinks the only store that sells video games is EB.
 
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Alandring

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Aug 20, 2020
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This is what Sony should have done as well.
I think the price of Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales and Demon's Souls are fine. But 70$ for Destruction All-Stars and Sackboy A Big Adventure is way to much. They should be at $40 (and Destructiom All-Stars should be free for PlayStation + owners).

Greenberg was right: every game should have its own price. $70 for an AAA is fine, but it's too expensive for an AA.

Sony are doing $70 because they're losing more money on the Digital Edition PS5 IMO. People that want that console will have to pay $70 for first party games.
I think it's more about third party games. Sony wants that NBA 2K, FIFA, Madden, etc. are at $70. So they show them an example.
 

vaibhavpisal

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Price should be considered on game by game basis, just like future Bethesda games for other consoles.
 

Orky

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I don’t know the last time I actually bought a game on Xbox. Been on gamepass day one.
 

LarknThe4th

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The cynic in me thinks they’ll let Sony/EA/whoever “test the waters” and that people will still buy the games just as much and adopt the pricing too, but then I wonder if they try and stick to current pricing where possible (or offset the pricing with cheaper Indy titles like they’ve done so far) to try and have another selling point against the competition. It’s similar on Sony side in that not all 1st party are $70, are they? Plus I wonder how Gamepass factors in to it; does it make Gamepass look like even better value? Does it emphasise the discount for game purchases when subbed, especially if the discount takes the game back to the current $60 price point (or lower)? Interesting times.
Yeah its optics, we will see

Hopefully there is a repudiation of these prices at the consumer level
 

Balducci30

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After all the flak that Sony was getting this warrants some popcorn


I mean, not having a preferred dog in this fight - Microsoft’s approach to the pricing doesn’t sound any worse than it did? In fact seems like they’re trying to get third parties to be under 70 - plus gamepass? Don’t see how this changes anything in that regard
 
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The_Mike

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Such a long explanation with a vague answer tells me that they will eventually go 70 usd as well. Otherwise the answer would be as simple as "we belive in 60 usd games."

Stupid move. If they kept their prices and made Sony go that higher price it could really gain them in the long run.
 
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DonJorginho

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This is what Sony should have done as well.
I say this with the biggest quotation marks, but Sony have "slightly" adopted this strategy.

Games like Miles Morales, Sackboy and likely Horizon II will all be the same price across both platforms. The UE for Miles is £70 but that is down the slightly predatory tacking on of the PS5 Remaster of SpiderMan PS4.

For those next gen titles though, they are raising the price, Xbox are yet to release any sole next gen FP titles yet but I would guess we could see them take the same approach from 2022 onwards.

I am nor justifying the price hike, having to shell out £70 for Destruction fucking All-Stars is making me have palpitations, but at least Sony are sticking to that sort of system.

Unless I have totally read you wrong, if you mean as in true next gen games, yeah Sony should wait it out till they raise the price.
 
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ripeavocado

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if they could they would price every game the most.

Yes it's a complex issue to maximize profits.

Raising the prices is just being greedy.

AAA games don't need it because they are going to sell millions of copies anyway except for rare occasions.

Smaller games that need it are on average priced much less than 70$

So it's all bollocks
 
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Warnen

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$70 would t stop me from getting something like cyber punk but would put me off stuff that I’m not fully in on for sure. Thankfully nothing will stay $70 for long.
 

skneogaf

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i am. I’m saying this because game pass in thought and practice is the worst case scenario for owning your own content.

Another insight is that apart from the last of us 2 and half life alyx I only bought games on sale and the fact that I play games on gamepass means I don't have to buy games in their higher prices so when on sale much later on I can pick them up.
 

ActusReusJB

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The cynic in me thinks they’ll let Sony/EA/whoever “test the waters” and that people will still buy the games just as much and adopt the pricing too, but then I wonder if they try and stick to current pricing where possible (or offset the pricing with cheaper Indy titles like they’ve done so far) to try and have another selling point against the competition. It’s similar on Sony side in that not all 1st party are $70, are they? Plus I wonder how Gamepass factors in to it; does it make Gamepass look like even better value? Does it emphasise the discount for game purchases when subbed, especially if the discount takes the game back to the current $60 price point (or lower)? Interesting times.

I don’t think it is letting the others test the waters, since Microsoft have announced their first party stuff will support smart delivery they can only charge $59.99. Otherwise everyone would just purchase the cheaper Xbox One version of the game and get the Series update for free. The question becomes what will happen when a Series only game is released.
 

Concern

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This will hardly put a dent in gamers wallets if they have Gamepass. Only would need to worry about purchasing any third party games not included in it.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Microsoft has every reason to push $70 games, because it makes their subscription look like an even better deal (in the short run).

Personally, I'm in favor of premium prices for premium games. However, a lot of games aren't "premium" in my eyes since a huge chunk of that money goes toward marketing, voice acting, mocap, and crappy story-writing, I usually wait for a sale or skip, in those cases.
 
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Bernkastel

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This will hardly put a dent in gamers wallets if they have Gamepass. Only would need to worry about purchasing any third party games not included in it.
Is the concept of buying and owning a game suddenly so alien to you just because you can try it out on Game Pass?
 
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