Xbox Series X

Phil Spencer says Xbox is challenging console financial tropes – and the way 2020 is going his timing might just be perfect

The Xbox Series X is still unpriced, but with some high-end hardware inside, no one in the industry is betting on it being cheap. And that might have been a problem in 2020 (for any new console), when financially things are somewhat ‘icky’.

However, it looks like Microsoft has hit upon at least a partial solution to a problem it couldn’t have possibly predicted. With Phil Spencer talking about the cost of a new console to The Verge.

“I think what you see is us challenging some of what I will say are the financial tropes or financial historicals of the console business… Because I don’t think everybody should have to go buy a new collection of games when they buy a new console. I just fundamentally don’t believe that.”

With games making up a significant portion of the price of a new console purchase, Microsoft’s backward compatibility and Game Pass initiatives mean consumers will be able to take home a console and start playing a huge range of titles for practically no more money than the price of the hardware (of course, that puts retailers in a tough position potentially, if consumers do just take a console and nothing else).

“I think you should have games that look great on that new console. But you shouldn’t have to go buy all-new games to go play on that console. I think if I make a purchase on Xbox One — I believed this even in the 360 days, even though we didn’t do it at the launch of Xbox One — it should continue to work as I move up in the hardware [cycle].

“I honestly think we’re in the best launch lineup position that we’ve ever been on Xbox… “When I think about the strength and depth of the games that people are going to be able to play day one on Xbox Series X — not only because of [backward compatibility] — and the way that Game Pass really allows the total cost of ownership of our console, I think is a real strength.”

And our guess on the price of the upcoming console? That’s a little more complex, we think it will be around £400 but that will come sweetened with a hefty chunk of Game Pass membership – six months or maybe even a year, making the console appear far cheaper than the initial outlay would suggest.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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