- Microsoft is raising the prices for Xbox Series X and the console Game Pass from July. Some regions will not be impacted by the changes.
- The new prices for Game Pass will be increased by $1 for the normal and $2 for the ultimate version. Considering the tremendous value of the service, this increase shouldn’t be an issue.
- Bumping up the price for the Series X raises several questions as to whether it can truly be justified. Largely because of how the console continually fails to live up to its title.
Following the several price hikes within the industry in recent memory, it’s not surprising to see Microsoft follow suit and amp up the prices for its products and services. Specifically, it’s only the Xbox Series X and console Game Pass that will see their prices hiked. Of course, one of the many reasons for this change is to match competitors but we have to look at most, if not all, avenues here.
Last year, we saw Sony increase the prices of PlayStation 5 citing high global inflation and adverse currency trends which impacted consumers and created pressure on many industries. While I believe most of that statement to be a half-truth, it is still true to an extent. Besides, price hikes and cuts happen all the time and at the end of the day, it’s really just part of running a business.
As for Xbox Game Pass, the service was launched over half a decade ago and hasn’t seen a price increase in all this time. In fact, it gave players a $1 deal instead which was extremely beneficial and no one in their right mind will say otherwise. Looking at the recent increase in prices for services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Spotify, and a few others, you really can’t expect the Game Pass to stick with the same tag forever.
In the most neutral position, a consumer will not see this price hike as a problem in the slightest. But this is ultimately impacted by preferences and requirements. While the Xbox brand offers myriad advantages to the consumer compared to competitors like Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch, everything has its share of pros and cons. The same can be said for this price hike.
Nevertheless, I believe that the services and amount of content offered by Xbox justify part of this increase that has been in the cards probably for a long time now, and here’s why.
The Bang To Buck Ratio Is Still Phenomenal
So I’m going to preface this by saying that the PC Game Pass isn’t seeing any changes in pricing. Let that sink in as you contemplate whether this price hike is really a problem. That said, until now, the Xbox Game Pass has cost $9.99 a month or $14.99 if you go with the ultimate version. I don’t have the statistics but I’m quite sure a good population of players go for the latter simply because of the features along with Xbox Live Gold.
Yes, that’s one drawback of playing on consoles. You’ll need a subscription to enjoy multiplayer in most games and it was Microsoft that introduced this in the seventh generation of consoles. I agree with a lot of things but not this, never. Coming back to the Game Pass, ever since its inception, the value you get for your money from that service is beyond belief.
Think about it, a service that costs you $10 a month and grants you access to all kinds of games along with day-one releases of high-profile AAA games. If you go with the ultimate version, that’s $15 with extra features and Xbox Live Gold for online play. It’s quite literally an all-you-can-play buffet and even someone like me who has reservations about the service and its structure just can’t deny its merits.
It doesn’t take much to put your math cap on and calculate how much you can save on gaming with just a Game Pass subscription alone. Add to this the fact that backward compatibility is a thing and you’re looking at a highly consumer-friendly gaming ecosystem. Something that not even Nintendo has on offer and Sony? Not going to happen.
In a time where first-party exclusives cost $70 and most launches are abysmal in performance, people should really think twice about a price increase of a couple of dollars in a service that is quite objectively the best one in the market. I’m quite confident that PlayStation Plus will never be able to match up to Xbox Game Pass simply because of how Sony chooses to operate.
And if you’re someone who plays games on PC and loves Game Pass, rejoice as you won’t have to spend two extra bucks. As I said earlier, it’s only the console game pass that’s seeing a little change in the tag but the value this service offers, as a user myself, I don’t even mind. But can the same be said for Xbox Series X? Increasing the price for this hardware wasn’t the right move, Microsoft.
Raising The Price for Xbox Series X Is Questionable
One thing that needs to be understood is that bumping up the price for the service vs the hardware are two different things entirely. Another aspect of this is the amount by which the price is changing. Paying two extra dollars for Game Pass is nothing but having to shell out an extra hundred or so bucks for an Xbox Series X in the middle of this generation is anti-consumer for a multitude of reasons.
So when I see Microsoft raising the price of the Xbox Series X, the first thing that comes to my mind is the state of modern gaming. It’s something that everyone talks about and despite the many quality games we’ve gotten this year, the truth is most of them launched in a pathetic state. Not to mention the $70 price tag on some of those titles. Considering that, the process of trying to justify this console price hike begins.
The Game Pass still offers a tremendous amount of value for the cheap price of $17 bucks post-increase. However, that isn’t the Xbox Series X’s greatest asset. If you want to get the most out of Microsoft’s flagship subscription, the Series S or a proper mid-range to lower-high-end PC is more than enough. Then there’s the fact that the Xbox Series S isn’t getting a price increase. So what sets apart the Series X? It’s the power.
Looking at recent launches ranging from first-party Xbox exclusives like Redfall to various third-party titles that for some reason perform worse on the Series X, I believe we can agree that the most powerful console ever isn’t quite living up to that title. In the end, justifying such things comes down to personal outlooks and preferences. But some objective ground can be found even in the most subjective territories.
With all that said, the new price tag for an Xbox Series X comes off as a bad move on Microsoft’s part. Given how Sony did the same thing for PlayStation 5, setting the precedent for this under the guise of inflation and whatnot, I believe sticking with the old tag or raising the prices by a lower amount would have been a more competitive move. The regional variance doesn’t do it any favors either.
In The End, It’s A Win For Game Pass
Well, if Microsoft has decided on the price hike then there’s nothing that can be done about it. The silver lining here is the Series S staying at the usual price tag and the phenomenal catalog of Xbox Game Pass. Unless something catastrophic happens to that service or Sony and Nintendo decide to release something that genuinely surpasses it, I’ll continue to sing its praises despite my reservations.
The prices may be going up but the value on offer isn’t going down. In fact, this value keeps on rising at an unfathomable rate. For that, Microsoft has my gratitude as a consumer. With the prospect of Activision and Blizzard‘s games coming to the service in the future along with day-one releases of high-profile AAA titles like Starfield among other games, excluding the Xbox Series X, this price hike is of no consequence.
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