Sony turned some heads when it unexpectedly increased prices on the PlayStation 5 in the second year of the current generation of consoles. Naturally, many wondered the same thing complicated financial situations we all find ourselves in would see an increase in Xbox prices also. However, in a recent interview with CNBC, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, stated that raising the price of the Xbox Series line would not be a wise move for the company right now. He also explained that Microsoft has no plans to lower its investment in game studios, despite the Activision Blizzard bid.
While in Japan for the Tokyo Game Show, Phil Spencer appeared on CNBC to talk about Microsoft’s potential interest in acquiring more companies, how they see themselves in the Japanese video game market, and whether or not Xbox will follow PlayStation in a price hike. Spencer stopped short of “categorically” denying Xbox would raise prices, opting instead to highlight the success of the more budget-conscious Series S, as well as emphasizing that while “customers are more financially challenged and uncertain than ever,” the company has no plans to raise prices currently.
While this is a more direct acknowledgment that we shouldn’t expect price increases in the near future, Spencer said that “going forward” the company can’t completely rule out the possibility of a price change.
We are always evaluating our business going forward. I don’t think we can ever say about anything that we’re never going to do something. But when we look at our consoles today, […] Series X and Series S, we think value is incredibly important. We love the position of the Series S in the market, which is our more affordable console. Over half of our new players that we find come in through Series S. And I can definitely say that we have no plans today to raise [the prices] of our consoles […] we don’t think it’s the right move for us at this time to raise the prices of our console.
The topic of console prices followed a conversation about acquisitions, with Phil Spencer stating that the competitive nature of the video game market means the company is “not going to press pause on anything”, laying out the size of its competitors, such as Sony and Tencent. The recent Activision acquisition certainly has ruffled some feathers between Xbox and PlayStationespecially regarding the future of Duty callsits multi-platform status. On acquisitions, Spencer said:
Tencent is the largest gaming company on the planet today, and they continue to invest heavily in game content and game creators. Sony is a bigger business than we are in gaming today and they continue to invest. When you look at the investments we’ve made, it’s a very competitive market. We strive to be a major player here. […] whether it is investing in our internal teams […] [or] build new partnerships.
Spencer also touched on Xbox’s ambitions to expand into Japanese markets, where it has historically struggled. He highlighted plans to build relationships with existing Japanese developers, similar to the company’s latest collaboration with Kojima Productions to bring an ambitious upcoming title to Xbox.