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Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S (& probably PC) games will increase in price to $70 starting in 2023


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I'm not surprised at all Game Pass isn't doing well with the mainstream. It is good value with the cheap deals people like us are aware of, but at full price it isn't great considering most aren't interested in indies and there aren't really any of the 'new releases straight to GP' there as MS never bother making games despite every year for the past decade or so being declared 'the year we finally release all the big games'.

 

Same with PS+, of which the Extra service is way cheaper than Game Pass and has a much better selection of higher quality games on it both indy and mainstream. Sucks there aren't really any brand new releases on there but Game Pass doesn't have any either. Sony's typically terrible messaging and the fact they shit out that embarrassing Premium tier do hold the service back to a degree, but even with Sony hypothetically fixing those issues (as if) I wouldn't bet the bank on it just as I wouldn't with Gamepass.

 

The reason for this is that most people just don't give a fuck. They play one or two games a year or have their 'main' game they play for years. As an example, the only game I play regularly is GTA Online. I had the Premium tier converted over as I did the 'year of PS now for £25' offer which was good value although a one-off offer. Still barely touched anything on it in that time, even things I was interested in such as TLOU2 because I spend nearly all of my gaming time playing my main game.

 

Come renewal time I got the cheapest Black Friday deal I could and just went for the basic PS+ tier costing £33 a year or something. This gives me the months Plus games as well as the backlog of titles from the entire PS4/5 generations to play in the rare times I do want an alternative. In addition some of the most popular games out there are just free to play nowadays, they may not be for me but stuff like Fortnite absolutely dominates anything on GP/PS+ in popularity and demand.

 

I think a mistake people in the industry as well as long term 'hardcore' gaming fans make is thinking everybody places such huge importance on the hobby as they do. Most people are more fans of specific games rather than gaming as a whole and while I fall inbetween the two categories I'd never bother with either of the games-on-demand services as they would just go unused 95% of the time or worse I'd end up hating it after forcing myself to play the 'good' games on there out of some self imposed desperate attempt to maximise value of the service. I even have the latter problem with the basic PS+ tier which I only really buy for online play, to a far lesser degree at least but there are still some pretty great/interesting games even on that service and at least you know they aren't going to be removed therefore you can dip in/out or play them at as slow a pace as you need/like.

 

Despite that, fuck £70 games.

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The problem when trying to assess Gamepass revenue/impact is that there is so much more to it than just what the subs are bringing in every month. And this is where the model differs from all the streaming services that are currently struggling financially.

 

Netflix's bottom line is its subs revenue. It has no other means of making money (well, potentially with the new ads tier as well I guess).

 

If someone is interested in Gamepass they might buy a console for it. They might buy an extra controller. They might buy the odd season pass for Fortnite. They might buy the occasional new third party game for the console. They might buy a game they really like when it leaves the service or that they were halfway through. They might buy DLC for a Gamepass game they otherwise got for 'free'.

 

Microsoft see revenue from all of this. It won't appear as Gamepass subs revenue in their financial reports but it's linked and no doubt they are tracking exactly this kind of stuff behind the scenes. What is the average spend of a new Gamepass user compared to a new non-Gamepass user? What are relative engagement levels like? How much money do we make from DLC purchases for Gamepass games? How 'sticky' is an average Gamepass user, do they become more anchored in the ecosystem? And so on.

 

Basically an obscene amount of data is going to be used by Microsoft to judge whether Gamepass is a success or not, way beyond the subs money simply being x% of their annual revenue. It's an apples and oranges comparison to Netflix et al.

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On 07/12/2022 at 12:15, David Kenny said:

I seriously doubt there's any kind of 4D chess going on here. And if that is Microsoft's strategy, I'm not sure it's bearing much fruit. Gamepass subscriptions have been disappointing by MS's own admission and didn't the last God of War sell gangbusters? What would be the driver for Sony to change tack? And what do you think a shift in Sony's strategy would look like?

 

The Xbox Game Pass first strategy seems in a state of flux now anyway. There was a recent comment from Phil Spencer that he doesn't expect XGP to ever amount to more than ~15% of his division's total revenue and they've already hit the wall in terms of console subscriber growth too, which would indicate they're going to change tactics with it going forward if it is no longer the promised Golden Goose.

 

https://www.theverge.com/2022/10/26/23425029/microsoft-xbox-game-pass-profitable-revenues

 

If you do some reverse maths based on their published actual and bonus target figures, then XGP has remained bizarrely consistent in actual total yearly subscriber growth over the last 3 years, no matter what the actual content on the service or any Pandemic-induced growth spurt (unless it would have done worse in the first year of the Pandemic without that help). This year's figures will be interesting to see, unless they decide to obfuscate or remove them from their bonus target. They certainly expected Halo/Forza Horizon to do more for subscriber growth.

 

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Talking about expensive games........what the fuck is going on with the prices of the backwards compatible stuff on the Xbox store?!?!? Proper rip off. Bought Tomb Raider Underworld for £15. It looks like shit. Then discovered my laptop and desktop are both decent for gaming on.
 

Tomb Raider Underworld on PC - 4K, way better FPS and waaaaaaaay better graphics - 99p. TR Anniversary - Xbox £15. PC version with way better FPS, 4K and waaaaaaay better graphics  - 99p. Sonic Racing Transformed - Xbox £15. PC version..........probably can see where this is going. I’ve picked up 20 quality games on PC for £20. Or you can buy 1 720p, 30fps, graphically inferior Xbox 360 game for the same price. 🤔
 

Also, why the fuck does a PC’s 4K image quality, look significantly better and higher resolution than the PS5/Xbox 4K image quality?!?!? 

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Yeah, BC games don't scale to 4K automatically, they need to be specifically enhanced for that. 

 

Also, you're comparing non-sale prices with sale prices which gives a bit of a false impression of value. There's no question the PC is still cheaper and better but it's more like three for the price of one, not twenty. 

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2 hours ago, CrichStand said:

Also, why the fuck does a PC’s 4K image quality, look significantly better and higher resolution than the PS5/Xbox 4K image quality?!?!? 


If your PC has the power, it’s rendering at a native 4k (or using DLSS), while the consoles rarely hit native 4k and use checkerboard / FSR or whatever to create a 4k image.

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Tomb Raider Underworld looks horrible and not at all how I remember it on 360. Jaggy, blurry and what looks like 30fps at 50hz. 🤮 Quite the combination! The PC version looks fantastic. Was blown away by Anniversary and Legend running on PC too, they look stunning. And Sonic Racing Transformed is immense at 60fps. Proper Sega blue skies gaming! Never tried gaming on PC before and finding it amazing for going back to older stuff. They stand alongside current gen games no problem when played like this. 

 

Used CDkeys to get the games at 99p, admittedly some of them are titles like Broken Sword 1+2, old Tomb Raider games etc. They’ve been 99p on there for ages now and seem to be their standard prices? Even if it is a sale, good luck with grabbing 20 quality games on Xbox/PS5 for £20 in their sales.......no chance! There are some on sale and they still cost about 10x more.
 

1 minute ago, PikaStu said:


If your PC has the power, it’s rendering at a native 4k (or using DLSS), while the consoles rarely hit native 4k and use checkerboard / FSR or whatever to create a 4k image.


Good point! I suppose most of the games I play aren’t running 4K on the consoles as I always go for 60fps. That said, the games that are supposed to be 4K on PS5/Xbox still don’t look as high resolution as the PC. It’s almost like 1080p on the PC is the same as 4K on the consoles. Whack the PC up to 4K and it looks absolutely bonkers. Image is so clean and absolutely pin sharp! 360/PS2 era games look ridiculously good. And that’s on a £150 desktop that I use for recording home demos, that only has integrated graphics. 🤣

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Games on CD Keys are on a perpetual discount. Steam will tell you the actual price of the games, and that's the comparison you should use. Of course, Tomb Raider Underworld is £6.99 there, so still wildly cheaper.

 

But also, PC games being cheaper and scaling better isn't exactly news to anyone. Xbox BC is for the benefit of people who already have a library from back in the day, or who don't have a PC and it seems a bit unnecessarily sneery to be castigating it for not being something it was never intended to be. 

 

Though your last note on using integrated graphics is still eye openingly impressive to me!

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I’ve got a big library of original Xbox and 360 games on disc and quite a few digital including some that are sadly no longer available, such as Afterburner Climax, Outrun etc. The backwards compatibility is nice to have and some of the games like SSX3 look and run great. Just think the pricing is a piss take. If an old game is £5 on PC then, it should really be the same price on Xbox imo. I mean £10+ more for a massively inferior version? Don’t see how they can justify that. To me it’s worse than the £70 rrp of new games.

 

I had no idea that you can get so many great games on PC for so little money. Outside of the C-16/64 and Amiga I’ve always been into consoles. Had an urge to go back through the old Tomb Raider games recently which has led me to this point. I was originally going to get Underworld, Anniversary and Legend on Xbox. Would have cost me £45!!! It’s cost me £6-£7 to buy all 9 of the TR games from 1 through to Underworld on PC. That’s proper crackers! And like I say, its blown me away just how good they look and play, even the really old stuff.
 

And yeah, I knew the machines I’ve got are decent for audio (it’s why I snapped them up. £150 was a crazy deal at the time and still is now looking at ebay) but I had no idea what older hardware can do in terms of gaming. Or what that hardware can do to improve the games themselves. Some of the old Xbox stuff in 4K/60fps, can’t get over how great they look! Finding out it runs 360 era stuff at twice the FPS and resolution, on High settings and all the games I’ve been wanting to go back to cost peanuts, well, I’ve gone and proper lucked out! 😁

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I've agree the base price is daft. At sale though, they've been sub two quid. Still more expensive than the PC version, but then there's no sense quibbling over pennies.

 

I imagine the price difference is because, if I understand it right, Microsoft take an additional cut on the game just for being on the console, on top of the cut for being on the store. On PC, you don't have that additional charge. Doesn't help the end user any.

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12 hours ago, mushashi said:

 

The Xbox Game Pass first strategy seems in a state of flux now anyway. There was a recent comment from Phil Spencer that he doesn't expect XGP to ever amount to more than ~15% of his division's total revenue and they've already hit the wall in terms of console subscriber growth too, which would indicate they're going to change tactics with it going forward if it is no longer the promised Golden Goose.

 

https://www.theverge.com/2022/10/26/23425029/microsoft-xbox-game-pass-profitable-revenues

 

If you do some reverse maths based on their published actual and bonus target figures, then XGP has remained bizarrely consistent in actual total yearly subscriber growth over the last 3 years, no matter what the actual content on the service or any Pandemic-induced growth spurt (unless it would have done worse in the first year of the Pandemic without that help). This year's figures will be interesting to see, unless they decide to obfuscate or remove them from their bonus target. They certainly expected Halo/Forza Horizon to do more for subscriber growth.

 


I’ll be intrigued to see if there is any strategic pivot if the ABK deal goes through. If you were looking at it from a cold bean counter point of view, to maximise Call of Duty’s potential as a subscription driver, you need to get all the people who only play COD to sign up.

 

That means for these people Game Pass needs to be cheaper on an annual basis than the cost of COD at £70 plus Xbox Live/PS Plus basic etc. At the moment those two things are roughly the same.

 

Of course, with Game Pass you also get access to hundreds of games. Problem is, that means very little to Jimmy CODplayer because he doesn’t care much about playing anything else. Ditto the Blizzard games like WoW, Diablo, Overwatch. 
 

To get round this I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Microsoft start offering stripped down cheaper Game Pass variants based around the giant service titles. For example, for £70-80 a year you get CODpass, which gives you all COD games including the current one, early access stuff, extra on Warzone etc etc. Maybe you also throw in a library of 10-20 games showcasing the best of Game Pass to try and entice COD players to upgrade to the full fat version. 
 

What I don’t think is going to work is just chucking COD into the existing Game Pass framework and expecting it to print money - especially if they end up having to keep it on PlayStation and PC for the next decade. 

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4 hours ago, Flanders said:


I’ll be intrigued to see if there is any strategic pivot if the ABK deal goes through. If you were looking at it from a cold bean counter point of view, to maximise Call of Duty’s potential as a subscription driver, you need to get all the people who only play COD to sign up.

 

That means for these people Game Pass needs to be cheaper on an annual basis than the cost of COD at £70 plus Xbox Live/PS Plus basic etc. At the moment those two things are roughly the same.

 

Of course, with Game Pass you also get access to hundreds of games. Problem is, that means very little to Jimmy CODplayer because he doesn’t care much about playing anything else. Ditto the Blizzard games like WoW, Diablo, Overwatch. 
 

To get round this I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Microsoft start offering stripped down cheaper Game Pass variants based around the giant service titles. For example, for £70-80 a year you get CODpass, which gives you all COD games including the current one, early access stuff, extra on Warzone etc etc. Maybe you also throw in a library of 10-20 games showcasing the best of Game Pass to try and entice COD players to upgrade to the full fat version. 
 

What I don’t think is going to work is just chucking COD into the existing Game Pass framework and expecting it to print money - especially if they end up having to keep it on PlayStation and PC for the next decade. 

 I mean either way it’s a win for MS, whether they buy it outright or play it on Game Pass. 

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On 06/12/2022 at 13:34, rafaqat said:

 

I firmly belive if people had just said "no thanks to 70 quid games, we'll wait for the price to drop we wouldn't be here" Instead we had people arguing that 70 was still value for money for a game in todays climate.  That's fair enough if they think that's good value. But it signalled to other companies that the market was ok with it.  I'm not sure why people in this thread are find that so hard to understand and instead want to talk about sentence structure or flag waving for certain corps.  I think the people who were fine with it fucked everyone else with their weak ass game buying.   Oh noooees  I won't be able to play at launch.


Oh shit guys, I’m the one who pointed out the poor sentence structure, the childish tribalism and I’ve bought 3 £70 games this year. It’s all my fault! 

 

On 07/12/2022 at 10:13, Talk Show Host said:

 

Both of these decisions have little to do with development costs. These are just strategies and Sony is really ill equipped in dealing with what Microsoft is doing. Especially since their main strategy is so top heavy and their new investments will take some time to give a roi.


Oh yeah I bet Sony are really freaking out about their current pricing strategy :lol:

 

https://www.videogameschronicle.com/news/god-of-war-ragnarok-sales-break-franchise-launch-record-in-the-uk/

 

On 07/12/2022 at 12:44, Talk Show Host said:


Did it in this case? Two years ago? And for remakes as well? It looks more like a strategy than a forced choice by inflation.

 

Why do you keep mentioning remakes? You’re developing the same amount of assets as a new game. 

 

On 07/12/2022 at 16:30, Majora said:

The problem when trying to assess Gamepass revenue/impact is that there is so much more to it than just what the subs are bringing in every month. And this is where the model differs from all the streaming services that are currently struggling financially.

 

Netflix's bottom line is its subs revenue. It has no other means of making money (well, potentially with the new ads tier as well I guess).

 

If someone is interested in Gamepass they might buy a console for it. They might buy an extra controller. They might buy the odd season pass for Fortnite. They might buy the occasional new third party game for the console. They might buy a game they really like when it leaves the service or that they were halfway through. They might buy DLC for a Gamepass game they otherwise got for 'free'.

 

Microsoft see revenue from all of this. It won't appear as Gamepass subs revenue in their financial reports but it's linked and no doubt they are tracking exactly this kind of stuff behind the scenes. What is the average spend of a new Gamepass user compared to a new non-Gamepass user? What are relative engagement levels like? How much money do we make from DLC purchases for Gamepass games? How 'sticky' is an average Gamepass user, do they become more anchored in the ecosystem? And so on.

 

Basically an obscene amount of data is going to be used by Microsoft to judge whether Gamepass is a success or not, way beyond the subs money simply being x% of their annual revenue. It's an apples and oranges comparison to Netflix et al.


Isn’t there a danger in the opposite direction as well? Netflix aren’t cutting into the profits they used to make from DVD sales to fund their subscription. And there’s surely a danger that the subscription model makes it easier to leave compared to the sink cost of full purchases? 

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On 12/12/2022 at 09:46, Broker said:


Oh shit guys, I’m the one who pointed out the poor sentence structure, the childish tribalism and I’ve bought 3 £70 games this year. It’s all my fault! 

 


Oh yeah I bet Sony are really freaking out about their current pricing strategy :lol:

 

https://www.videogameschronicle.com/news/god-of-war-ragnarok-sales-break-franchise-launch-record-in-the-uk/

 

 

Why do you keep mentioning remakes? You’re developing the same amount of assets as a new game. 

 


Isn’t there a danger in the opposite direction as well? Netflix aren’t cutting into the profits they used to make from DVD sales to fund their subscription. And there’s surely a danger that the subscription model makes it easier to leave compared to the sink cost of full purchases? 

 

Sony is not freaking out but Game Pass is way more flexible as a main strategy imo. But of course it has to offer important first party games, something that Sony is unable to do from day one. Not that direct comparison matters anyway if both of them are successful, which is what we all want I guess.

 

As for why I am mentioning remakes, that is to show that their reason for raising the prices is not about development costs, because remakes do not cost the same to develop as new games. Which you clearly disagree because you are on those. 😅

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