Microsoft plans to increase the base price of some of its internally produced first-party video games in 2023.
Xbox’s first three major releases of the year –Forza Motorsport, Redfall, and starfield—will launch in the first half of 2023 at an MSRP of $69.99. That’s a $10 increase from the previous standard, which was last raised when the Xbox 360 launched in 2005.
“We’ve withheld pricing releases until after the holidays so families can enjoy the gift of gaming,” a Microsoft spokesperson told GeekWire via email. “Starting in 2023, our new games built for next-gen will be available at full price on all platforms for $69.99.”
“This award reflects the content, scope and technical complexity of these titles. Like all games developed by our teams at Xbox, they will also be available with Game Pass the same day they are released.”
For casual fans, it’s important to highlight the “new, built for next-gen, full price” part of Microsoft’s statement. This broadly refers to the category of video games that fans and developers often refer to as “AAA”: big-budget productions aimed at mainstream audiences and released on physical media, like last year Halo infinity.
By comparison, several recent Xbox exclusives have hit the market at prices well under $60. For example, Xbox recently released Obsidian’s Busesa narrative adventure RPG, for $19.99.
This increase will bring Microsoft’s first-party games to the same maximum price as Sony’s, some of which, such as God of War: Ragnarok, have been available to retail for $70 since the launch of the PlayStation 5 in 2020.
Sony also previously announced a price increase for the PlayStation 5 in August, affecting Europe, the UK, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Canada.
Nintendo, at the time of writing, is still holding the line at $60 for first-party Switch exclusives like Pokemon Violet and scarlet. In its November earnings report, Nintendo told shareholders that it had no plans to increase the base MSRP for the Switch hardware.
Xbox CEO Phil Spencer made headlines during a WSJ Live interview in October, noting that Microsoft would eventually need to raise asking prices for products in its games division.
In response to a question about possible price increases for Xbox hardware, an Xbox representative told GeekWire that “we are constantly evaluating our business to offer our fans great gaming options that are priced in line with local market conditions.”
“Given today’s economic landscape, we may need to adjust our pricing in the future to continue providing gamers with the high-quality experiences they have come to expect from Xbox,” the representative said. “We have nothing to announce at this time.”