In a recent interview, Phil Spencer stated that gamers truly decide the price of next-gen games by choosing what they spend their money on.
The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, recently stated that gamers are the ones that truly decide the price of video games by voting with their wallet when a new game is released. Spencer’s revelation came during an interview after he was questioned about the recent price hike for some next-gen games.
With the recent announcement of NBA 2K21, it was revealed that the latest installment in the basketball gaming franchise would cost players $69.99 USD on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Previous games in the franchise, and the standard cost of a new AAA release, were $10 less priced at $59.99 USD. This higher price point sparked a trending discussion between gamers who were displeased with the increased price point. Gamers were even more displeased when it was discovered that other publishing companies were considering similar price points for new releases. Spencer, however, stated he could not comment on what first-party Xbox games will cost.
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In an interview with Washington Post, Spencer stressed that games come in a larger variety of prices than ever before. Spencer even referenced that the price point for a game can be a cause of friction between a new player and a specific game. Realizing this, Spencer stated that developers have to work harder than ever to overcome that friction and offer players an experience they are willing to pay that amount of money for. Spencer went on to state that gamers control the price point of games by choosing what they spend their money on. He is quoted during the interview as follows:
“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. 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.”
In a sense, Spencer is stating that if a company sees a decrease in sales due to a higher price point, than the company will have no choice but to lower the price of its games in the future. The question is, how many lost sales is enough to drive a company to lower its prices? While the ideology behind Spencer’s quote makes sense it’s hard to believe that a decrease in sales will happen due to a $10 price hike. Not to mention that Phil Spencer has also stated that the Xbox Series X won’t have any next-gen exclusive games for the next few years, which leads to believe that not all games released during this time period will see an increase in price.
While Spencer is technically right in saying players control the price point of games, some games and franchises are too big to fail. Spencer is correct in stating that players have a larger variety of price points to choose from, but the lower-priced games are independently developed titles that couldn’t sell if priced at $60 or higher. On the other hand, franchises such as Halo, 2K, or Elder Scrolls will sell millions of copies regardless of the price associated with the title due to their massive fan-bases. So, while Spencer claims that players are in control of the price of next-gen titles, nobody is going to miss out on Halo Infinite even if it costs an extra $10 on Xbox Series X.
Source: Washington Post
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