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When you buy a retail game you're buying more than just the game. You're paying for the quality of the physical experience. You get a case, you (sometimes and used to) get a booklet, you get a disc and you have some sense of ownership over the title. Digital games aren't like that. You only get the game and nothing else. There is no shipping or manufacturing or retailer fees involved with the production of a digital game. The company simply hosts the file and you pay for and download it.
So as you can imagine, gamers have become livid (once more) when they found out that the digital game prices for the Xbox One have gone up. Yes, the digital game prices have gone from £44.99 to £49.99, which is the equivalent of going from $54.99 to $59.99.
Paul Walker from Now Gamer – who obviously isn't the same Paul Walker from the Fast & Furious – did a brief recap of how gamers noticed that digital game prices for the new gen systems weren't particularly accommodating.
When Sony was called out for having digital game prices of the PS4 rivaling that of retail prices, as reported by Eurogamer, they absolved their old ways by bringing the price down of some digital titles.
It only makes sense to have lower prices for digital goods as opposed to physical goods when you're paying for something and getting less.
Well, over in the Microsoft camp they seem to have a different view on the matter, and decided to raise prices from $54.99 to $59.99, as you can see in the image below, where you can directly purchase a digital title from Microsoft.
As you can see – and as noted in the main image of this article – the prices of digital games has incrementally increased by a few dollars (or pounds, if you're a Brit).
Microsoft has yet to offer an explanation for the hike in price. While some people might point to an “increase in development budgets” keep in mind that Forza 5 required massive downgrades from its E3 iteration, showing that the same kind of development constraints and restrictions are carrying over from the seventh generation of gaming.
Using the development-cost excuse seems moot. There's no additional goods that arrive with the digital copy of the game and there doesn't appear to be any benefit of owning the digital copy over the physical copy.
Even more than this, the news actually proves that Microsoft certainly has no intention of following suit behind Valve with “Steam-like sales”, which seemed to be a frequently used excuse by reputation management to convince people that Microsoft was doing what they were doing with the Xbox One to service consumers. It seems to be quite the opposite looking at those digital store prices.