upcoming Xbox One
console represents the company's most ambitious effort to date to propel gaming into the cloud. Physical media will still exist, but by and large, Microsoft envisions console gamers purchasing and organizing titles in a Steam
-like fashion, a method that has worked well for PC gamers. Steam's distribution platform also paved the way for deep discounts and frequent sales on top titles. Might we expect the same or similar price savings on the Xbox One? Perhaps eventually, but not at launch.
A representative for Microsoft told Polygon
that Xbox One games will carry the same price tag as today's titles, meaning you can expect to pay $60 for a triple-A game. "I can confirm that Microsoft Studios games on Xbox One will be $59.99 (MSRP)," the un-named representative is quoted as saying.
That's not really a big surprise considering outlets like Amazon have already begun taking pre-orders on Xbox One titles, with pricing in the neighborhood of $60 (Forza 5 Day One Edition, for example, is marked at $59.96 on Amazon). But while the $60 price point isn't a shocker, it will certainly be disappointing if publishers continue to charge the same amount once Microsoft's cloud platform gains a bit of traction.
You may recall a leaked letter on Pastebin
from a supposed Xbox engineer. In it, he talks about the Xbox One's need to dial home every 24 hours, saying it's the same thing as having to log into Steam before playing games, only the Xbox One does it for you automatically each day. He also talked about how Steam's DRM scheme eventually led to lower priced titles.
"The whole point of the DRM switch from disc based to cloud based is to kill disc swapping, scratched discs, bringing discs to friends house, trade-ins for s**t value with nothing going back to developers, and high game costs," the engineer wrote. "If you want games cheaper then $59.99, you have to limit used games somehow. Steam's model requires a limited used game model[...]It was only once they had a digital marketplace with DRM that was locked down to prevent sharing that they could do super discounted [games]."
Maybe the Xbox One will get there eventually, just don't expect deep discounts on day one.