Zen Of Design

The design and business of gaming from the perspective of an experienced developer

Price Reductions on the XBox One

So the most annoying thing about the Steam Sales last week was the number of people I saw on various message boards who wished that they could get these awesome Steam prices for games on their console.  *sigh*

Some people doubt that Microsoft would reduce prices with the frequency and voraciousness of Steam.  I disagree.  The reason: Steam exists.  Once both are digital and therefore roughly equivalent in terms of all other costs — well, if you have a choice to buy Assassin’s Creed IV on Steam for $30 bucks, or on the XBox One for $60, which would you choose?  If Microsoft One really wants to go fully digital, these kinds of discounts are inevitable.

There is another movement by the fans to get Microsoft to set prices for online games to be $10 dollars cheaper on launch day of a particular game.  This is a good thought but less likely, at least initially.  For the most part, pricing for games is set by the game publishers themselves, not Microsoft, and companies like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft are not willing to screw over Gamestop and Wal*mart in favor of digital until they are sure they don’t need those retail partners anymore, and until Playstation comes onto the digital bandwagon, that’s not going to happen.  It is something Microsoft would be reasonable to try for their first party exclusive titles, since assumedly they’ve already burned that bridge to the ground.


  1. I’m curious how digital secondhand will be handled.
    I touched on this on my own site (which I really should update) way back, on how the game/key could be traded/re-sold.

    A nice starting point would be to allow a customer to re-sell the game at a prize they choose themselves (or even trading a game for a game, or even gifting it).
    50% of that goes to the person selling the game,
    50% goes to Microsoft which splits it 50/50 with the publisher/developer.

    Along with that, the publisher/developer also get access to anonymous statistics on the reselling of the game.
    That way the retention rate of initial buyer, or how long until it is re-sold can be analyzed.
    Re-sell price stats will also help with planning future prizing on new games.

    License/key management is handled by the system, so the previous owner can no longer play it.

    If either the XBox One or PS4 provides something along those lines, they should be able to compete very well with steam indeed. In fact, steam would probably scramble to catch up.
    (that is unless, they read this blog comment first that is, you never know.)

    I’m just glad that the upcoming consoles and current mid-range PC’s are now on the same playing field on performance. Should provide more consistent experiences with PC to Console or Console to PC ports.

  2. I’m curious – what does it mean to be on the digital bandwagon? It might just be because I primarily use a PlayStation 3 for gaming, but it seemed to me that despite a sluggish store interface, Sony is already at least as committed than Microsoft.

  3. Damion Schubert

    August 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Microsoft’s commitment to a largely digital experience on XBox One suggests they were flirting with sticking their thumb in the eye of Gamestop. Sony doesn’t seem interested in doing that, as they can exploit player’s reluctance to leave the old business model behind.

  4. Ah, okay. That makes sense; I was only thinking of what was taking place, and potential first-party Microsoft discounts struck me primarily because Sony does have a 10% discount with Vita software (whether that goes to PS4 remains to be seen). But yes, Microsoft’s all-digital plans showed us that they want the digital future more than any other console maker. Thank you for responding!

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