Phil Spencer hints at a future Game Pass price hike

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer discussed the possibility of price increases for consoles, games, and Game Pass during the Wall Street Journal’s annual Tech Live conference (thanks to The Verge for the transcript.)” We’ve held the price of our console, we’ve held the price of the games and our subscription. I don’t think we can do this forever,” Spencer admits. “I think at some point we We’ll have to raise the prices of some things.” He was quick to point out, however, that these changes won’t go into effect this holiday season, as Microsoft wants to “maintain the prices we have.”

A potential price hike for Game Pass isn’t too unexpected. Similar subscriptions in the entertainment industry, like Netflix and Disney+, have recently increased their monthly prices due to soaring user retention costs and an expected global recession. But this news comes amid what Spencer calls “incredible growth on PC.” Microsoft’s latest quarterly report reveals that PC Game Pass subscribers are up 159% year over year. However, Spencer admits he’s seen “slow growth” on console subscriptions. This is likely due to a growing install base, or perhaps first-party delays for Starfield and Redfall – both of which were slated for a 2022 release on Game Pass.

Spencer too reiterated his plans for Call Of Duty when and if Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard closes. “Call Of Duty will be available on PlayStation specifically. Would love to see it on Switch… Our intention is to treat CoD like Minecraft. Call Of Duty exclusivity as a potential issue.

While Spencer seems to play well with rival console makers, he hasn’t been shy about talking about Microsoft’s other rivals, Google and Apple. “It’s definitely true today that the biggest gaming platform on the planet, which is a mobile phone, is controlled by two companies: Google and Apple,” Spencer says. “We need to break this duology of only two storefronts available on the biggest platforms.” Microsoft previously backed Epic Games in their fight to keep Fortnite on mobile storefronts. Since then, Fortnite has become playable on smartphones and Steam Deck via Microsoft’s streaming technology. Apple doesn’t currently allow competing storefronts on their devices, but streaming could be a way around the problem. For example, many Game Pass titles are already playable on smartphones through Xbox Cloud Gaming.

We probably won’t hear about Xbox price hikes, mobile storefronts, or CoD plans for quite some time. But, in the meantime, Game Pass subscribers have a lot to look forward to – while the service is still nice and affordable. Persona 5, the JRPG King, has just launched on the service and should keep players busy over the holiday months. And on November 15, we’ll get Obsidian’s medieval adventure game Pentiment, alongside dystopian sci-fi game Somerville. Much to look forward to now.

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