How much would you be prepared to pay for the Xbox Two? Prior to the launch of the Xbox One X, people were worried about how much it would be, but the final price wasn't so bad.
Could the next console from Microsoft be the one that breaks records? The Xbox One X is slated to release at $499 on November 7th, 2017. This isn't too bad, but does it represent what we could expect to pay for the Xbox 2, or will the price go even higher? Join us as we find out!
Xbox Historical Pricing
First things first let’s take a look at the history of the cost of Microsoft consoles:
|Xbox Original||$299 - Nov 2001|
|Xbox 360||$299 -$399 - Nov 2005|
|Xbox One||$499 - Nov 2013|
|Xbox One S||$399 - 2016|
|XBox 2 (Xbox One X)||$599 - $699? 2017 Release Date|
Looking at the pattern simplistically, each console has seen a $100 increase, with the Xbox at $299, the Xbox 360 at $399 and the Xbox One at $499. As it turns out, the Xbox One X is coming for $499. Perhaps, though there are other factors to consider.
For one, the Xbox 360 was a console that varied dramatically in price over the years, with higher and lower specification versions released periodically to suit the demands of gamers. With the Xbox One however, Microsoft has gone back to basics with just one price to include everything, including the motion sensing technology, Kinect. It’s possible that future versions or releases of the Xbox One will come with variable price tags, in which case there is a chance that a version of the Xbox Two with less memory or less functionality could come complete with a slightly lower price tag.
Breaking Down The Evidence So Far
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, sat down with IGN for an hour-long interview that you can watch below if you're so inclined:
In this interview, several conversations came up about Xbox One X. Among them was the continued conversation of pricing. For starters, Phil discussed a pre-E3 show to talk about Scorpio (the code name at the time for Xbox One X), but they haven't decided on that yet. Phil Spencer seemed almost giddy as he said "I can't wait to show people what it looks like."
He used the term "premium" again when describing the design of the console as well. When asked about pricing yet again, his response was this:
"I call it a premium console because I want people to be clear that the customer we're building that for is the premium gaming customer. The person who buys the majority of the games, the person who's playing the most games, spending the most hours, spending the most dollars. It's like our Elite controller. I call that a premium controller."
Phil Spencer continued to try and set expectations during this interview when he said the following:
"I'm not trying to scare anybody on the price. We're going to come out on a price that we think is fair for the product that we build and the customers will tell us as they always do. I call it premium because I don't want people to get confused that somehow Scorpio is the thing that is going to take over the Xbox line."
He even went on to say that "the majority of consoles that we're going to sell are the Xbox One S and I'm very proud of that."
Interesting. So Microsoft doesn't expect people to rush out and buy Xbox One X. They know they're targeting a niche market with this premium console and they've set expectations accordingly. Not only this, but Phil Spencer was careful to describe the console as something that wouldn't take over the Xbox line.
This proves that the Xbox One X is not a next generation console, and therefore, not the Xbox 2 that we're all waiting for. Even so, the price point here at $499 is what Microsoft considers "premium" which is lower than we expected.
The next generation console, Xbox 2, will most likely have a similar "premium" feel and certainly better hardware than Xbox One X has right now. This could result in a higher price point, but Xbox One X has set a standard that is lower than we expected for a premium priced console.
Given this, we could probably see the Xbox Two releasing at $599 or $699, but not more than this. If the Xbox One X were more expensive, we would raise the potential price of the Xbox 2, but Microsoft has showed that they're willing to keep the price in a reasonable range.
Another factor that could dramatically alter how much the Xbox Two launches for is that of the technologies contained within it. Perhaps one of the most influential reasons that the Xbox One’s launch price was higher than that of its rival, the PlayStation 4, is due to the inclusion of the Kinect technology with the sale of every console. Adding in a new technology to the sale is bound to increase the cost per unit, and the same could be true of the Xbox Two.
Since Xbox One X is confirmed to be VR compatible, we now have a few options as to what it could be bundled with:
- The Oculus Rift (Priced at $600)
- A headset from the line of announced Windows 10 VR headsets
The reason why we've ruled out the HoloLens is twofold: for starters that headset is augmented reality, not virtual reality. The second piece of evidence is that Microsoft indefinitely delayed the HoloLens earlier in 2016.
Rumors are point more towards the Oculus Rift than the other choices, but with the Rift bundled in, the price will go up significantly. It's more likely that Microsoft will tap into its line of Windows 10 headsets and leverage the partnership they have with one of those manufacturers to make something compatible on Xbox One X.
Once Microsoft get VR into the equation, our hope is that it will catch on like PlayStation VR has done. This would give them a lot of incentive to bring out something epic on Xbox 2 when it releases. An option for the base system, and a system bundled with Microsoft's VR solution could certainly be possible.
This would also give Microsoft the opportunity to widen the profit margin on their next generation system. Customers who purchase console and VR bundles will be investing a significantly larger amount than those who are just buying the console.
Assuming that VR catches on, there will most certainly be a market for people who want the option on their next generation console. Also, while Xbox One X probably won't be getting HoloLens, that's doesn't mean that Xbox 2 will have to pass as well.
By the time this next generation console releases, Microsoft will most likely be on their way to finishing up the HoloLens and releasing it to the public. It's already been shown to have some gaming potential beyond its other uses, so this isn't outside the realm of possibility, and again, offers the chance for Microsoft to bundle the two devices together.
We mentioned inflation in passing but it is a very real consideration when thinking about the cost of future games consoles. Take a walk around a supermarket one week to another and it’s easy to spot that in general the cost of living is increasing. In general this isn’t too much of a problem, as salaries tend to rise with the cost of living. In 1990 for example, the average salary in the US was just $438 a year, compared to around $50,000 today.
There is a very real chance that these increasing figures could impact the cost of the next Xbox games console, especially considering the unpredictable financial world in which we find ourselves living. Even with a low inflation rate of just 2% for the next ten years would see an item that did cost $499, now cost $599.
Signs of Rain: The Possibility of a Cloud-Based System
The cloud was something Microsoft talked about a lot prior to the release of Xbox One, but lately we've only heard about it here and there. Part of that comes from the push back on an always-online console, but this could be the secret sauce Microsoft can use to really push Scorpio to the limit.
The only news we've had of Microsoft's plans for the cloud, comes from talk of Xbox-exclusive Crackdown 3, which is set to use the power of the cloud in multiplayer. They want fully destructible city environments in the game, with no compromises.
That's just not possible with the processing power of one Xbox console. Instead, they use the cloud with some impressive results. According to Dave Jones, creative director on the game, they are using the cloud to pull some serious power in their pursuit of total destruction.
We're hitting about nine times the power of the Xbox One here in this demo, due to the way the guys are playing. I think 13 times is our record, though. You can really raze the entire city if you want to."
What does this mean for the price? Not much right now, but it does show how the power could be leveraged in the future. Perhaps Microsoft held back on some of the hardware with this in mind? This would bring down the cost of the system, and further reinforces our $599 price point.
What do you think? Have we underestimated? Overestimated? How much would you be prepared to pay for the Xbox Two?