Many of us are living through an inflationary crisis the likes of which haven’t been seen for decades, meaning the price of pretty much everything—from clothes to power to food—has gone through the roof over the last 12 months. Video games are no exception.
We’ve already seen unprecedented moves like the PlayStation 5 increasing in price two years after release, and Microsoft is now warning customers that we can expect similar spikes across their platforms and services. We just don’t know which ones yet.
As reported by The Verge’s Tom Warren, speaking at a Wall Street Journal conference earlier this week Spencer said “I do think at some point we’ll have to raise the prices on certain things, but going into this holiday we thought it was important to maintain the prices.”
“We’ve held price on our console, we’ve held price on games... and our subscription,” he added. “I don’t think we’ll be able to do that forever. I do think at some point we’ll have to raise some prices on certain things...”
That’s a very cagey thing to say! He could mean that just one or two of those things will see price increases, leaving us to speculate which ones. An increase in the price of Microsoft’s own games seems inevitable, seeing as so many rival publishers are already implementing such hikes, while jacking up the price of Game Pass subscriptions must also surely be on the cards.
Xbox consoles, though, that’s another story. The PS5 increase was a big story because consoles had never gone up in price after release before; we’re used to them getting cheaper over time, not more expensive. Yet we’re not living in normal times; the inflationary crisis has root causes, and they lie in everything from labour issues to unprecedented (in modern times) component shortages to corporate profiteering, stuff we haven’t had to factor in (or at least factor in to this degree) when looking at console prices before.
So who knows, he might mean everything is going to get more expensive next year. Great!