In a truncated interview with 1UP (the full version is coming), Microsoft’s Shane Kim discussed what he believes is a mass-market price. “If you look back in history—again, it’s not just going to follow what’s in history—in some cases, 75 to 80 percent of the business gets done $199 and below. … Maybe $249 will be a mass-market price point—but historically, $199 has been when you’re talking a PlayStation 2-like install base.”
He also went on to say July was an “odd” time to announce a price drop, when referring to the PlayStation 3 price drop. Additionally, Kim even said, “I’m not even sure Sony announced a price reduction, anyway,” referring to the fact that there was initially a $499 PlayStation 3 available, and today there is no cheaper option than $499 if you’re looking for a new PS3.
It’s hinted that a price drop may be in store this year, and to “stay tuned” – Kim acknowledged that this holiday is extremely important for Microsoft to win. So if you’re holding off for a price drop to pick up an Xbox 360, don’t lose hope just yet.
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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend E3 this year – instead, I’m on vacation in Cape Cod, using awful hotel Wi-Fi to watch streamed press conferences. Not the most glamorous way to take it all in, but exciting announcements, great games and new details are welcome no matter how you hear about them.
Here’s my personal transcription (in very brief form) of all the announcements and showings, along with some reflection on what Microsoft had to show.
We hope you guys are ready, because while E3 may be quite a bit smaller this year, the announcements coming from all the game companies should still prove to be large. The Microsoft briefing is right about to start, and we expect to see and hear some fairly exciting announcements. Halo 3 anyone? Fable 2 FTW? Any unannounced exclusives? Check back here in 30 minutes for the full scoop.
UPDATE: Alright guys, hit the break for the news!
The upcoming Shadowrun has two price points on two different systems. That’s not all that unusual in itself – we’re used to seeing PlayStation 2 versions of games cost less than those on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. But when a game is seeing a simultaneous release on Xbox 360 and PC, and being put in a position to be the flagship cross-platform title, why are Xbox 360 owners paying $60 when the game is only $50 on PC?
Newsweek’s N’Gai Croal hunted down Microsoft Game Studios corporate vice president Shane Kim to get an answer.
The $59.99 for Xbox 360 and $49.99 for Windows Vista price points are our standard pricing for each platform. This pricing structure is not uncommon in the multiplayer-only first-person shooter genre, as numerous titles have seen success at this price point and gaming model. I think it’s premature to speak to pricing for all future projects, but as of now this is our pricing structure for our marquee titles like Shadowrun. Additionally, MGS has the same development costs as other developers and publishers out there. One advantage other publishers have that we do not is that they can leverage their marketing and development costs over all platforms, while we are focused on Windows and Xbox 360 as a first party publisher.
That still doesn’t quite answer the question; is it impossible to deviate from the standard pricing scheme? This is the first real Xbox 360/PC cross-platform release, so the standard pricing being referred to is nonsensical. And that’s not to mention, of course, the fact that much of the public is in upheaval over the price already – given that there is no single player and a limited number of maps, paying a “standard” price isn’t what gamers want. The studio manager of Shadowrun developer FASA Studios, Mitch Gitelman has frequently retorted that the game offers an innovative experience that adds “verbs” to the FPS experience. We’ll just have to wait and see how gamers vote with their wallets when the game is released on May 29.
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