As $70 becomes the new normal for next-gen games, Microsoft's Game Pass becomes an attractive alternative to full game purchases. Xbox exec Aaron Greenberg really underlines the value of the service with a simple, yet telling, response to the price hike.
Games are about to jump from $59.99 to $69.99, and they'll likely stay there for the new gen. Will Microsoft jump its games to $70? Arguably the company doesn't need to. Game Pass is sparking full game sales along with consistent monetization and long-term subscription revenues. If anyone could avoid raising prices, it's Microsoft.
At the same time, Microsoft has a vested interest in raising prices. Not only do they get more money per sale, but they also add more value to Game Pass by proxy. Higher game MSRP will push more users to Game Pass where they can instead lease and sample a collection of games for less cost. It seems like a win-win for Microsoft.
When asked about the price jump, Xbox's Aaron Greenberg responded by underlining MIcrosoft's overall game plan: Value through subscriptions that perpetually charge consumers for content they don't actually own.
"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?" Greenberg said in a recent Dealer Gaming podcast.
Microsoft often says consumer choice is at the center of Xbox. That's true. This price hike inadvertently skews the choice in favor of Game Pass, though, so the choice itself is heavily influenced by rising prices. Greenberg's words ring with a lot of truth in today's landscape: Why spend $74 on a game when you can just buy a month of Game Pass for $15 and play that game--and a bunch of others--for an entire month?
This consumption model has revolutionized gaming and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future, and could be further accelerated by the next-gen game price hike.