According to reports from The Verge, Microsoft is planning to raise the prices of the Xbox Series X console and Xbox Game Pass. The head of communications at Xbox, Kari Perez, confirmed these price increases in a statement. Starting from August 1, Microsoft will raise the price of the Xbox Series X, its high-end ninth-generation console. The new prices for the Xbox Series X will be £479.99 in the UK, €549.99 across most European markets, CAD $649.99 in Canada, and AUD $799.99 in Australia. It is worth noting that the price of the Xbox Series S will remain unchanged, with the 512GB model priced at $299.99 and the 1TB model priced at $349.99.
Additionally, the cost of Xbox Game Pass will increase in all countries where the service is available. From July 6, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription will cost $16.99 per month, reflecting a $2 increase, while the regular Xbox Game Pass will cost $10.99 per month, representing a $1 increase. However, the price of PC Game Pass will remain at $9.99 per month. This is the first time that Microsoft has announced a price increase for Xbox Game Pass since its launch in 2017.
These announcements were somewhat expected, as Xbox boss Phil Spencer mentioned last October that the prices of Xbox hardware and Game Pass would eventually rise. Kari Perez stated that Microsoft had maintained its console prices for many years and made adjustments based on competitive conditions in each market.
Microsoft’s recent price increases for Xbox Game Pass and the Xbox Series X are not related to its ongoing legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The timing is notable as Microsoft is currently facing the FTC in court, where the agency is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the acquisition. The FTC filed a lawsuit against Microsoft last year, and a separate evidentiary hearing is scheduled for August 2.
Despite the legal proceedings, Kari Perez, head of communications at Xbox, clarified to The Verge that the price hikes for Xbox Game Pass are unrelated to the Activision Blizzard deal. Microsoft has maintained the same pricing for Xbox Game Pass since its launch in 2017 and wants to emphasize that the increases are solely intended to align with local market conditions.
This clarification from Perez is interesting considering that the UK’s Competition Markets Authority (CMA), which previously blocked the Activision Blizzard deal, expressed concerns that Microsoft’s ownership could lead to higher prices for Xbox Game Pass. However, Perez’s statement reaffirms that the price adjustments are not influenced by the proposed acquisition.