Microsoft gaming boss admits Xbox can’t avoid price hikes for ever

Xbox Game Pass holders access exclusive discounts and free-to-play games each month (PA Archive)
Xbox Game Pass holders access exclusive discounts and free-to-play games each month (PA Archive)

Despite Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer revealing that the company’s Xbox Game Pass subscription service is already profitable, he also hinted that price hikes could be on the horizon after the holiday season.

“We’ve held price on our console, we’ve held price on games and our subscription,” Mr Spencer said at the Wall Street Journal's Tech Live, The Verge reported. “I don’t think we’ll be able to do that for ever... I do think at some point we’ll have to raise some prices on certain things, but going into this holiday we thought it was important to maintain the prices.”

This comes after other major gaming brands, such as Sony, have announced price increases, with the cost of the PlayStation 5 rising in response to "high global inflation rates, as well as adverse currency trends".

At the time of the Sony announcement, Mr Spencer confirmed that Xbox would not be following suit on its own console prices, saying: "When our customers are more economically challenged and uncertain than ever, we don't think it's the right move."

Judging by his words at the WSJ’s Tech Live, this might not stay the case for long. At the same time, Mr Spencer confirmed that he expects Xbox Game Pass to stay at about 10–15 per cent of Microsoft’s Xbox content and services revenue. This highlights that their subscribers are a key part of their customer base, so the company will be keen to keep them happy.

Xbox Game Pass holders access exclusive discounts and free-to-play games each month, as well as occasionally having early access to some games.

Microsoft also just revealed that it saw PC Game Pass subscriptions increase by 159 per cent year over year, following the trending move from consoles to gaming. In addition, more than 20 million people have streamed games on Xbox Cloud Gaming, up from 10 million earlier this year.