Microsoft: Competitive prices for digital Xbox One games are 'on the agenda'

Microsoft's new Xbox One console allows users to either download full games or buy them at retail when they're released, which can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. One drawback, however, is that the retail versions of games often go on sale while the digital versions remain the same cost. According to a Microsoft executive, the company is trying to solve that problem.

The subject came up in a Reddit forum post this week when a person was complaining that one could go to the Microsoft Store website and purchase the upcoming FPS "Titanfall" on disc and then get a $10 Xbox digital gift card. The writer, "Bocephis," said that he was frustrated that Microsoft was not offering any word if there would be support for Titanfall digital pre-orders and if the company would also offer the same $10 pre-order offer for those orders.

The thread got a response from Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, Microsoft's head of Xbox Live programming, who told another Reddit member on the same thread that competitive pricing for digital games "is indeed on the agenda" at the company. Hryb added:

We are way aware of this and many of the concerns of the community - we have some great stuff planned for Xbox One this year (and beyond.) As soon as we can share some of the goodness...we will :)

Hryb has gone on the record in the past as saying that Microsoft has plans to add a number of new Xbox One features via software updates, but so far there's been no word on what they might be or when they will be made available.

Source: Reddit | Image via Microsoft

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14 Comments

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It's nice to see them figure it out after 8+ years. Now to put into action. Though I can't help but see Dead Rising 3 digital download on sale for $49.99 in the 12 days of deals 2015.

I'm happy to stick primarily with digital even if just for the sheer convenience of "Xbox go to <game>" I'd like the prices to at least be as low if not lower than physical though

I love the convenience of digital. I never "resell" games so that's not an issue for me. I can see how it would be for other people though.

I do miss physical copies for collecting purposes, but only retro/cartridge games hold value to me.

The digital download version should have a significant price advantage considering the absence of shipping, tablet space, box and printed material. Add to this the fact that you can't sell it back when you're done.

And until the price is adjusted accordingly, the digital version price will remain a steal.

I think that digital prices stay higher for longer because they want to keep the retailers happy as it's an important partnership. They could undercut retail easy but just don't want to, I think they should at least price match retail so when the prices do drop in the stores they can drop on digital say 1 or 2 days later.

If digital takes away ms's or sony's expenses to manufactures physical copies, package them, and ship them to retailers, then digital copies definitely should be cheaper. Even if it's just a tad cheaper, I'll take it.

aviator189 said,
If digital takes away ms's or sony's expenses to manufactures physical copies, package them, and ship them to retailers, then digital copies definitely should be cheaper. Even if it's just a tad cheaper, I'll take it.

Additionally... Digital Copies, in most forms, are "you can't resell this".

$60 for something I can presumably resell for 20-30 next year... vs $60 for something that is tied for eternity to my account?

I don't mind buying on Steam strictly because I can wait for a 50-75% sale and don't feel as ripped off knowing I can't resell the game later.

aviator189 said,
If digital takes away ms's or sony's expenses to manufactures physical copies, package them, and ship them to retailers, then digital copies definitely should be cheaper. Even if it's just a tad cheaper, I'll take it.

The costs of manufacturing is negligible in the general scheme of things. Retail and wholesale cuts are significantly larger, and then there's development costs. Digital sales seem to be full price, then the platform holder (MS, Apple, Valve/Steam, etc) takes 30% of that as their cut (normally - I'm sure there are exceptions and deals to be cut).

If they undercut, the publisher risks losing retail support, which would be very dangerous. Its sort of rare for even console to PC ports to significantly undercut console pricing (except for sales, obviously). Retail is competitive, so giving Gamestop or Walmart a reason to snub you seems ill-advised.

Further more, the primary concern for publishers is recouping their investment and hitting their sales goals. If they don't break even, that's really bad. If they don't make an adequate ROI for their investment and the amount of risk it had, that's bad too. So that's a further disincentive to significantly lower the price on digital.

Best way to get a deal is patience. The sooner you "have to have it," the more you're going to pay, pure and simple. Waiting gets a lower price and sometimes even includes the DLC other folks paid extra for.

That said, I always buy King of Fighters games when they're announced, and am waiting at the store in day 1. I know its hard!

Lots of times I would rather buy the digital version but if it's the same price as in store I'll just buy the physical copy

I'm digital only right now and already have a huge backlog, so I'll just wait for better deals on digital items if the price is truly outrageous.

Exactly. I would want to see digital sales match or be better at times than the physical disks. If they could pull off Steam like sales, I'd buy a lot more games, but I'm not going to pay full retail price of $60 for the electronic version when the physical is $40 a month or two after release despite the benefits of going diskless.