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Phil Spencer: Game Pass Price Will Rise as More Value is Added

Phil Spencer: Game Pass Price Will Rise as More Value is Added - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 October 2023 / 3,214 Views

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in an interview with Game Watch said it is "inevitable" the price of Xbox Game Pass will rise as more value is added to the subscription service.

"Although the main premise is to provide more value, the price is I think it is inevitable that it will rise in the future," said Spencer.

"We recently raised our prices once, but the decision was made after careful consideration. We believe it is important to provide services that are recognized as being of sufficient value even if prices are increased."

Microsoft increased the price of Xbox Game Pass over the Summer. Xbox Game Pass for Console increased from $9.99 a month to $10.99 a month, while Xbox Game Pass Ultimate increased from $14.99 a month to $16.99 a month. PC Game Pass price remained at $9.99 a month.

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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Leynos (on 25 September 2023)

More value in corp eyes is less features, higher price.

  • +7
LurkerJ Leynos (on 25 September 2023)

In their FTC defence, they said the acquisition will not result in higher GP prices, which is obvious BS, but we were told any price increase is due to inflation lol

Direct quote: "Here, the acquisition would benefit consumers by making Call of Duty available on Microsoft’s Game Pass on the day it is released on console (with no price increase for the service based on the acquisition)"

Even in isolation and without the leaks, MS/Phil can't keep their public narrative straight!

  • -5
DonFerrari LurkerJ (on 25 September 2023)

I dunno why people in VGC are still so eager to believe him even when he say opposite stuff in the same week.

  • +1
EpicRandy DonFerrari (on 25 September 2023)

Well, some users take a quote that literally says "GP price won't increase as a result of this transaction" then proceed to interpret it as "GP price will never increase" then troll others who correctly assess statements for not abiding by their twisted definition which is more akin to a self-fulling prophecy engineered to paint 1 actor as lying.

  • +4
LurkerJ EpicRandy (on 25 September 2023)

Some users shorten the quote presented by the OP in a defensive attempt to take it out of context, then proceed to attribute a twisted interpretation for the out-of-context quote to the OP, then tell others that they're being trolled by a quote and an interpretation that were never presented by the OP in the first place, all to get to the usual engineered final conclusion; Daddy Phil doesn't lie.

Don't accuse users of trolling in third-person language, not cute.

  • -5
EpicRandy LurkerJ (on 25 September 2023)

My replied was not meant to be a response to yours, if it were I would have replied to your comment directly, my comment was strictly in response to Don generalist statement.

Some users shorten the quote presented by the OP in a defensive attempt to take it out of context
I didn't shorten the quo in your OP, I didn't quote you at all XD.

then proceed to attribute a twisted interpretation for the out-of-context quote to the OP
I didn't but the confusion is understandable giving you thought I was replying to you.

all to get to the usual engineered final conclusion; Daddy Phil doesn't lie.
Nope, that's not my conclusion but trying to attribute it to my statement and paint it as condescending as " Daddy Phil doesn't lie" certainly is trolling/flamming.
It literally tries to attribute an 'I don't see a lie in that statement Phil made ' to a 'Phil doesn't lie' stance.
By adding Daddy, you entail that I view him as a father figure or an idol which only acts to discredit me as illogical/emotionally motivated and not my argument which was all about "GP price won't increase as a result of this transaction" != "GP price will never increase".

  • 0
LurkerJ EpicRandy (on 25 September 2023)

Ah, apologies, then.

  • -4
Slownenberg (on 25 September 2023)

Makes sense but at some point they have to limit the price. So its at $17 right now for the highest tier. I think they can definitely take it to $20 but I think once you start passing $25/mo you start pricing people out. It's still at a fairly cheap price now. $20 starts to be a significant cost for people. $25 ($300/year!) is getting pretty hefty for most people your average young adult or parent with kids. I think no matter the content, Somewhere around $20-$25 they start seeing declining revenue rather than increasing. So I'd say they have a couple more price hikes in it before they start running up against an affordability wall for consumers.

  • +3
CosmicSex Slownenberg (on 25 September 2023)

I think their goal is to get around $500 a year. Yes this is way too much but Microsoft has the PR and fanbase to get it done. They will force you to like it and if you don't there will be a pack of rabid fanboys to attack you online so in the words of Microsoft: 'Deal with it'

  • +2
JackHandy (on 25 September 2023)

So they didn't really buy anyone out... gamers did.

Well played, Phil.

Well played.

  • +2
VAMatt (on 25 September 2023)

No shit

  • +2
Dante9 (on 25 September 2023)

Netflix and friends have struggled with this business model for eons now, and it seems like its viability is still in the air a bit. What constitutes enough value for a certain price, and who determines that value? Disney is not doing too hot with their service.
Netflix tends to have a thing where they don't really want to do more than on or two seasons of anything, because doing more will cost more, but additional seasons will not pull in any more watchers than that thing already has. So it's diminishing returns for them every season, even if the fan base would like more. I don't know if this relates to gaming directly, but something to think about at least.

  • +1
EpicRandy Dante9 (on 25 September 2023)

Yes exactly.
However, game subscriptions have some advantages over streaming services.
if you make a customer persona having between 50 to 100 hours/month to use content service then to fulfill those hours :
Netflix will need to create 50-100 hours of content or 25-50 movies or 5-10 10 episodes of series/seasons.
Game subscription needs: 1 game that can hook the player long enough

Nowadays movie and game budget are much more alike (Though big production movie tends to be on average at the higher end of game of AAA game budget). The advantage of a game library to reach viability, sustain a user base, and prevent jumpers is substantial IMO.

  • +1
method114 EpicRandy (on 25 September 2023)

Yes, but IMO gaming has one massive issue that TV/music doesn't have. Everyone watches TV/music but not everyone plays games. On top of that when most people play games like on mobile it's a FTP game or they can quickly throw some dollars at and move on. I think people will be much much more reluctant to pay monthly for video games compared to TV/music. With TV people were already paying cable providers so they are just switching from one thing to another. Video games some people don't ever pay anything to play games beyond buying the device. Some just don't want another monthly payment and would rather a one time purchase. Some don't like the rental aspect of games. The gaming consumer is much much different than the TV/music consumer. Even now Subs have stalled industry wide which is a bad sign for MS who just got started.

  • +1
EpicRandy method114 (on 25 September 2023)

You're right that's certainly another factor to consider and it certainly is slowing progression.
The question then becomes :
Is the gaming user pool large enough?
Can an actor influence this or not?
If yes how?
Can game subscription service be something or even the thing that helps democratize gaming?

We can guess more or less some of them in the current context yet those answers are only temporal, they'll evolve as the industry does.

  • -1
method114 EpicRandy (on 25 September 2023)

The pool is large enough I don't think that's any question. It's just a matter of if they consider it worth it. I think most people are to busy to commit a monthly payment to gaming. Especially when games are just getting larger and larger now. I bet when most people see all the games they get the first thing they say is "That's a good deal but I dont play enough to ever take advantage of that". PC is xbox's best bet which they now know and advertised heavily on the TGS show. The problem with PC is Steam and PC users attitude in general. They hate more stores, they hate the MS store, and they hate purchasing off of steam.

  • 0
EpicRandy (on 25 September 2023)

Well, bring Us the content and, like always, I'll be the one judging for myself and my wallet if you brought enough value to support a rise.

That said a rise over inflation might be dumb, with a service like GamePass, quantities of new content are only significant up to a certain threshold, price point is as much if not more important.

Using an extreme example, even if GP had 10X the content it would not be able to support 10X it's price, it would not sell at all, and even 3x the price won't cut it. People have limited time in a month to play, and having access to a library of 6 new AAA/year or 60 makes little difference in their willingness to spend to fill their limited playtime anyway (or so it would for me). In that scenario, MS would be better at carefully choosing their 6 AAA the make sure every taste gets its value and keep the price low than pumping content like there's no tomorrow only to raise the price above customer willingness to spend.

What good will it be for MS at let's say $15/month if they toss aside millions of customers willing to spend only $10/month?

  • 0
Jumpinbeans (on 25 September 2023)

One thing with GP which is pretty interesting from a non xbox user is that it seems to primarily be geared to the Series S - digital only. Whereas the Series X can utilise a second hand market for physical games, there is nothing of the sort for series S so the best value can be found with GP.

The downside of course which we are seeing now is games on SS not being as polished or finished (BG3) as on the SX. It'll be a harder to go on about the the D1 games side of GP if in fact they will run poorly or not at all on SS. Add this to the fact that SS outsells SX by 3-1 (at least from the earlier reports) and MSFT might have found itself in a quandary.

First few years - SS gets your market share on cost and GP + day1 AAA.
Generation matures - SS sales will likely decline as the performance of day1 AAA games for the SS console push it and are also shipped without features.

There will likely be an uptick in SX sales, but as for the SS users it will be interesting. GP lures you in with value, it doesn't keep you loyal though (physical games and purchases do that).

  • -1
LivncA_Dis3 (on 25 September 2023)

Quality my ass,

Games u be putting day one in gamepass are incomplete so don't say that they're quality titles Phil.

  • -2
gtotheunit91 LivncA_Dis3 (on 25 September 2023)


  • +4
Libara gtotheunit91 (on 25 September 2023)


  • +3
smroadkill15 LivncA_Dis3 (on 25 September 2023)

Speak for yourself. I've played plenty of quality titles this year alone to make the GP very much worth having.

  • +1
Pemalite (on 25 September 2023)

It could be $20 a month and it's still good value.

This is the digital future.

  • -8
Doctor_MG Pemalite (on 25 September 2023)

I really hope it isn't

  • +5
Geralt99 Pemalite (on 25 September 2023)

Right. Poor little Trillion dollar corporation.
Let's all just play along to their tune and not speak up.

I don't get why Microsoft gets special treatment on here.
No company is your friend and Microsoft is no different (Although they try really hard to make it seem that they are).

  • +3
Pemalite Geralt99 (on 25 September 2023)

I never asserted that Microsoft gets special treatment. I'm not preferential to any singular console platform... So feel free to stop misconstruing my statements.

Sony's PlayStation Plus Premium I find is also good value... It's $17.99 month for 350+ cloud games, 400+ games you can download and play, 2x free games every month, discounts etc'.

Nintendo's online service is also good value at only $4 a month... Which gives you access to: NES, SNES, N64, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Sega Genesis plus DLC to Mario Kart, Splatoon, Animal Crossing etc'.

You are getting a lot of content for a small subscription.

Is it for me? Absolutely not.
But it's hard to argue with any of these services based on value alone.

Obviously there is always room for improvement with all these services, Microsoft could have more exclusives, Nintendo could add more games at a faster pace and Sony could offer backwards compatibility via emulation/virtualization/abstraction/translation rather than cloud.
But as a whole, that is a nitpick and they are still good value, especially if you are entering the ecosystem with zero games.

  • +7
VAMatt Pemalite (on 25 September 2023)

I don't think any of them are worth the (full) price. I sub to Gamepass Ultimate because I've been able to get it at about $4.50 per month. I doubt that I'd be subscribed all the time at $17. I don't have enough gaming time to get my money's worth, unless they're gonna have every game I want to play on the service.

I don't subscribe to any of the others because they provide very little value to me. If I could get them at 70% off, like Gamepass, it would still be hard for me to pull the trigger on PS+ or Ninty's online service. As it is, I sub to PS+ once in a great while, and have yet to sub to Ninty at all.

  • 0
VAMatt Pemalite (on 25 September 2023)

I think you're right that it's the future. I think you're wrong about the value at $20, at least for most people.

  • +1
method114 Pemalite (on 25 September 2023)

I don't think it's the future at all. In fact in Phil's leaked emails they acknowledged they saw no growth in 2022. GP is brand new it should not being stalling already. On top of that sub services have stalled industry wide. I think people are overestimating the amount of people who want to have another monthly payment and it's just for gaming. People like us who post on this site sure it was made for us. The average consumer? They would probably laugh at the idea of paying every month for games when they barely have time to game anyways and just want to purchase one game and work on that.

  • +1
Ayla Pemalite (on 25 September 2023)

Agreed. I'll stay subscribed as long as it's doesn't go over $25.00.

  • -3
tslog (on 25 September 2023)
  • -14