Once a relative anomaly, console price hikes are becoming increasingly common as volatile market conditions impact the manufacturing costs of some of the most popular gaming hardware around. First, it was the PS5, and it’s now the turn of the Xbox Series X to receive its first price increase in Japan.
Microsoft has confirmed (via Gematsu) that the retail price of the Xbox Series X will increase from ¥54,978 ($421) to ¥59,978 ($460). Its sibling console the Xbox Series S is also getting a price hike, from ¥32,278 ($247) to ¥37,978 ($291). Microsoft told the publication in a statement, “after carefully evaluating the market condition of Japan, we have decided to change the suggested retail price of Xbox consoles in the country” and also acknowledged it was a “difficult decision to make.”
Fortunately, for now, this price hike is localized only to Japan, and the console will remain and its pre-existing retail price of $499 / £449 in the U.S. and U.K. respectively. However, it follows a concerning trend that has seen several tech companies increase the price of some of their best-selling products.
Last August, Sony increased the price of the PS5 in multiple territories, including the U.K. and Europe, and this was followed by Meta raising the price of the Quest 2 VR headset by $100 a month later. Neither of these products have been reduced back down to their original retail prices in these markets over the last six months.
At the time of these price hikes, Xbox’s Phil Spencer assured gamers that Microsoft planned to maintain its prices through the holiday season but did forewarn that “at some point, we’ll have to raise some prices on certain things.” Clearly, that day has arrived, and while the major Western regions have been spared, there is certainly a possibility that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will receive further price increases over the coming months.
Now is the time to buy an Xbox Series X
If you’ve been eyeing up an Xbox Series X (or Series S) now could be an ideal time to commit to a purchase before this price hike rolls out any further. Buy now and you’d be getting a great gaming console that we labeled “the pinnacle of Microsoft’s gaming efforts” in our Xbox Series X review. Over the past two years, we’ve been continually impressed with its performance capabilities and stellar backward compatibility features.
Curiously, the Xbox Series S actually enjoyed a series of discounts over the holiday shopping season yet is still receiving a price increase in Japan. Nevertheless, we’d still wager that a permanent price cut seems more probable for this entry-level Xbox console than a worldwide price hike. Even at its current full price of $299, it represents significant value for money, but it’s not the most future-proof machine.
Aside from avoiding potential future price hikes, now is also a good time to invest in a new Xbox console because 2023 is shaping up to be a huge year for Xbox Game Pass. The subscription service is often referred to as one of the best deals in gaming and has recently made headlines again thanks to the surprise drop of console exclusive action game Hi-Fi Rush. Later this year it will offer multiple heavy-hitting titles on day one including Starfield, Redfall and a new Forza Motorsport.