Xbox boss Phil Spencer has reiterated that Microsoft has no plans to raise the price of its consoles – after Sony stunned fans last month by hiking the price of PlayStation 5.
Speaking overnight to CNBC, Spencer noted the current economic issues many were facing, and said Xbox didn’t think it “was the right move for us at this point” to follow suit.
“In a time when our customers are more economically challenged and uncertain than ever, we don’t think it’s the right move for us at this point to be raising prices on our consoles,” Spencer said.
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Would Spencer rule out ever increasing the Xbox Series X/S prices? No, he couldn’t – but from his comments today, it sounds unlikely.
The Xbox boss noted how “value is incredibly important” and that the company was seeing success with its lower-priced £250 Xbox Series S console – which accounted for more than half of Series X/S sales.
“Y’know, we’re always evaluating our business going forward so I don’t think we can ever say on anything that we will never do something,” Spencer explained. “But when we look at our consoles today… we think value is incredibly important.
“We love the position of Series S in the market – which is our lower cost console. Over half of our new players that we’re finding are coming in through Series S. And I can definitely say we have no plans today to raise the price of our consoles.”
Nintendo recently commented to reassure customers it also had no plans for a similar price hike for Nintendo Switch.
Writing last month to announce the price rise, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan blamed Sony’s decision on “high global inflation rates, as well as adverse currency trends, impacting consumers and creating pressues on many industries” and said it had been a “difficult decision”.
The move was widely criticised, especially at a time when many are facing increased economic hardship.
Speaking to Eurogamer, industry analyst David Gibson of MST Financial explained that Sony’s decision was due to foreign exchange costs which it was now passing on to consumers.
“Sony would have budgeted on certain cross rates versus its costs in dollars,” Gibson explained, “but the pound and other currencies have all moved because of rising interest rates. Yes, freight rates have gone up but the semiconductor market is improving and DRAM prices are falling. The fact Sony didn’t change US prices shows how it’s largely a forex situation versus costs in dollars, and not inflation.”
During the same CNBC interview today, Spencer was also asked to discuss the increasingly public row over Microsoft’s intent to buy Activision Blizzard, and the war of words being traded by it and Sony over Call of Duty.