Inflation Hits Gaming: Microsoft Will Charge $70 for Its Biggest Titles in 2023

The price increase mirrors other major game makers, particularly Sony's PlayStation division.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read
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Microsoft said the price increase comes as development costs continue to rise.

Brandon Douglas/CNET

Microsoft is planning to raise prices for games made by its studios to $70 next year, the company said in a comment, following other game makers who have made similar moves citing increasing development costs. All told, as a result, the moves are likely to contribute to further worldwide inflation.

The software giant, which makes the Xbox video game console, said new, highly anticipated titles like the vampire-shooting game Redfall and the space exploration epic Starfield will cost about 15% more than the typical $60 price that the company's maintained for more than a decade. In that time, the teams for some big-budget games have doubled or more between major projects.

"This price reflects the content, scale and technical complexity of these titles," a Microsoft spokesperson told gaming publication IGN in a statement Monday. The spokesperson added that all games developed by Microsoft's Xbox teams will also be available on the company's Game Pass subscription service, which starts at $10 per month. The company declined to comment about whether the price of its Xbox will rise next year as well.

Microsoft's pricing move was widely speculated among gamers, who have anticipated such price increases as the size of game development studios have grown, as have the marketing budgets for their biggest titles. It's only been in the last couple of years though that other companies such as Sony's PlayStation division have made moves to increase prices of their games to $70. Earlier this year, the electronics and entertainment giant increased the price of its PlayStation 5 video game console in some countries outside the US as well. 

Super Mario Bros. maker Nintendo meanwhile has suggested it's considering price increases as well, while Grand Theft Auto game maker Take-Two Interactive has said it will charge higher prices on a "title by title" basis.

For its part, Microsoft telegraphed the move by reassuring fans that it'll keep the prices of its games and Games Pass subscription through the holidays. 

"Consumers right now are more uncertain than they have been in a long time, and I want our medium of video games to be something that they find attractive," Phil Spencer, Microsoft's head of gaming, said in an onstage interview with The Wall Street Journal in October. "I do think at some point we'll have to raise some prices on certain things."