A few weeks ago, Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox Series X won’t get a price hike just yet, but left things open for the future. Potential Xbox Series X buyers may be relieved to hear that the future hasn’t arrived just yet.
Xbox head Phil Spencer confirmed yesterday (September 15) that the company has no plans to raise Xbox Series X prices in the short term. But, just as it was a few weeks ago, the gaming industry is still a volatile place, and Spencer didn’t rule out changing prices at some point in the future.
Spencer discussed Microsoft’s pricing strategy during an episode of The Squawk Box Asia on CNBC International. During the course of the four-minute interview, Spencer covered a diverse range of topics, from big-budget acquisitions in the gaming space, to Microsoft’s presence in Japan, to Discord integration on Xbox. The final question Spencer fielded was about the possibility of Xbox console prices increasing:
“I don’t think we can ever say on anything that we will never do something,” Spencer said. “But when we look at our consoles today … we think value is incredibly important.
“I can definitely say we have no plans today to raise [the] price of our consoles. We think in a time when our customers are more economically challenged and uncertain than ever, we don’t think it’s the right move.”
Like a lot of pricing decisions at this level, Microsoft's move to hold the price of the Xbox Series X is partially altruistic and partially practical. On the one hand, empathizing with customers who may be in difficult financial straits exhibits a level of corporate goodwill. That may sound trite, but not every company has been as thoughtful, as Sony and Meta’s price hikes demonstrated.
The practical aspect, of course, is that Microsoft can sell more consoles at a lower price. Raising the price would inherently limit the user base, and consequently, the number of players in the Xbox ecosystem.
Still, Spencer was straightforward about the fact that Microsoft could change its mind in the future. Sony and Meta are not the only companies suffering from supply chain shortages, and Microsoft moves in similar industrial spaces. At a certain point, the company may decide that it’s more profitable to sell fewer consoles at a higher price.
Your only defense against a potential price hike is to buy an Xbox Series X sooner rather than later — or to wait a few years, and hope that the price goes down, as it does in most console cycles. Granted, this current console cycle is not like most.