Are Windows Phone Xbox LIVE Games Too Expensive?

The concept is genius. Adding Xbox LIVE integration to the revamp of Microsoft’s mobile solution makes sense on so many levels. Xbox LIVE has tons of users who love the service, so to refresh their mobile platform with this service baked in was a no-brainer for Microsoft, but are the prices on Xbox LIVE-enabled Windows Phone games too high for many users?

Xbox LIVE games for Windows Phone range anywhere from being free for the game Flowerz to $6.99 for titles like The Harvest and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Ep. 1. These games are great and certainly demand a premium for their integration into Xbox LIVE, but $4.99, $5.99 and $6.99 may be a bit too steep for a title on a casual gaming platform. This is especially the case when you compare similar titles on other popular platforms:

Title Windows Phone iPhone
Fruit Ninja $2.99 $0.99
iBlast Moki $2.99 $2.99
Max & the Magic Marker $4.99 $0.99
geoDefense $2.99 $1.99
Doodle Jump $2.99 $0.99
Harbor Master $2.99 $1.99
Super Monkey Ball $2.99 $2.99
I Love Katamari $4.99 $4.99
Deer Hunter 3D $4.99 $0.99
PES 2011 $4.99 $2.99
Tiki Towers $2.99 $0.99
I Dig It $2.99 $0.99
Puzzle Quest 2 $6.99 $4.99
Parachute Panic $2.99 $1.99
Pocket god $2.99 $0.99
3D Brick Breaker Revolution $2.99 $0.99
Oregon Trail $4.99 $0.99
Bubble Town 2 $2.99 $1.99
de Blob $2.99 $0.99
Sims 3 $6.99 $6.99
Frogger $2.99 $0.99
Flight Control $2.99 $0.99
Need for Speed Undercover $4.99 $0.99
Monopoly $4.99 $0.99
Tetris $4.99 $0.99
UNO $4.99 $0.99
Earthworm Jim $4.99 $4.99

I recently purchased Hydro Thunder GO for Windows Phone for $4.99. The gameplay is awesome and the visuals are very good, but in a bit under a week I beat every level on gold and unlocked every racing boat there is. So, I guess the question is: Are shorter, casual mobile games worth $4 to $6? I imagine in the end its preference, but it would be nice to see Windows Phone a bit more competitive on pricing for similar titles on competing platforms.

Judging by the reviews on many Xbox Windows Phone games, I don’t believe I’m alone in my opinion, but I’d like to hear from other Windows Phone users as well. Do you guys believe Microsoft should lower the price points on Xbox LIVE game for Windows Phone or is everything priced correctly, in your opinion?


36 responses to “Are Windows Phone Xbox LIVE Games Too Expensive?

  1. Good article and point. I do feel the price is too high for what little additional features you are getting on the platform. I don’t think double or triple the price is worth a handful of achievements. Now, if I could also play the game on my 360 and continue where I left off on my phone using the new cloud save feature coming to the 360, then it would be worth it!

  2. I don’t think they should should be priced any higher than they are on other platforms, especially when were going from .99¢ to $4.99 On some games. If they would make them the same price than there could be no argument that the live tittle on wp7 is better than versions on other platforms. With the current prices right now, when your trying to convince your buddy that your phone is better, they got a good argument against you due to the often times radical price differences.

  3. I would buy more games if they matched the prices I pay on my iPad. This is the one HUGE negative of my wonderful HTC Trophy. Fix this Microsoft and sales will go up, equaling out revenue and give back the good will you might in the end lose.

  4. Agree, Windows Phone and XBL is superior, but I have a hard time paying twice as much for the same game as my friends do on their iPhone. MS needs to lower xbox game prices.

  5. I see lots of people complaining about the price of LIVE games. I’m pretty sure this all comes down to basic economics. The number of WP7 users is tiny compared to android and ios users, that’s why developers can price their games so much lower because if out of 20 million iOS users only 10% buy the game for $1 that’s still 2,000,000 in revenue. If the same game was sold for $1 on WP7 that has let’s say 2 million users and only 10% buy the game that’s 200,000 in revenue. If we assume the costs of development are the same for each platform then it makes sense that WP7 games have to be raised to compensate for the customer base size. If the game costs $5 on WP7 and 10% of the hypothetical 2 million users buy it that’s 1,000,000 in revenue.

    Most game developers probably wouldn’t even develop for WP7 if Microsoft didn’t offer the incentives that they do, it makes more sense to let the platform mature and grow before trying to sell lots and lots of cheap games on it

      • That’s why they have deal of the week, users are going to be happy if a game goes down in price rather than up. So it makes sense what they’re doing, I’m sure as the customer base increases game prices will reduce.

    • All of you people making the “it’s the economics/not enough users” argument are obviously stunted. The bottom line is that Microsoft, like anyone will catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and certainly has the money to provide a competitive price on their apps and games to help stimulate their user pool.

      They don’t care about the size of their pond, or the amount of fish in it, they think that just because they’ve learned to rape people over LIVE for games, avatar items, and various other pointless and expensive trinkets, they they’ll be able to do the same thing with their mobile platform.
      I have news for microsoft, and you, you can’t provide an inferior device, with an inferior/subfunctional operating system, overpriced library of apps, antiquated third party protocols, and no incentive to stay, and expect people to stay, or pay. But I will never stop loving how clueless consumers like yourself choose to stand up for megacorporations and attempt to explain to the common man “how business works”.

      In short, no it doesn’t “[make] more sense to let the platform mature and grow (a bit on the redundant side there) before trying to sell lots of cheap games on it”. If anything, fueling your endeavor and growth by offering competitive systems is the staple of survival. Bludgeoning your food source to death or causing them to migrate faster than you can chase them is how predators become extinct. In the same sense, aggressively assaulting your consumers wallets may net you a boom of income in the beginning, but will make you more enemies than friends, and with Android and Apple to compete with here, they need to be smart and fair.

      • Damn dude you should chill. I was just offering an explanation. It doesn’t appear that you are business/economics educated so unfortunately I can’t take your evolutionary arguments very seriously, if you were you probably would’ve have approached your argument in a systematic way. Anyway that’s all besides the point cause I’m really just after an explanation about their pricing.
        Don’t developer’s choose the price of their games?
        Maybe their pricing is affected by the LIVE branding because of how much it’s promoted?
        I understand that Microsoft is throwing money at developers to provide incentive for them to actually port their games to WP7 but that doesn’t mean they’re going to subsidize every single game just to reduce the price so people will buy it. At least I don’t think it makes sense from a business perspective, it makes more sense to cover costs of development so companies have no excuse not to port their games, that way it minimizes their risk of joining the WP7 market and losing revenue. Once development costs are covered anything they make from selling the game is theoretically pure profit if they’re not spending money on marketing/updates etc.

        Microsoft has proven they are good at business, so many people seem to hate them yet they are still incredibly successful, so they must be doing something right and I’m sure there is a reason for the price of games. Less speculation and more actual data would help us get an answer here.

        Again anyone who is business savvy or an educated economist is welcome to chime in, anyone who wants to call me self-proclaimed economics teacher (I’m not) who blows Microsoft any chance he gets (which I don’t) in more than 500 words is also welcome :).

  6. I do think the games are vastly overpriced. There some great games but the addition on achievements and gamerscore means very little to me. I don’t own or want an Xbox. I have my Laptop, a Wii & my WP7.
    I have very little spare income so I have to carefully pick what I buy. Do I buy a game at £5.49 or a few games at a cheaper price point? I buy the cheaper games and I tend to buy far more games that aren’t live enabled.
    Microsoft need to drop prices by 25%-50% to tempt me.

  7. I do think the games are vastly overpriced. There some great games but the addition on achievements and gamerscore means very little to me. I don’t own or want an Xbox. I have my Laptop, a Wii & my WP7.
    I have very little spare income so I have to carefully pick what I buy. Do I buy a game at £5.49 or a few games at a cheaper price point? I buy the cheaper games and I tend to buy far more games that aren’t live enabled.
    Microsoft need to drop prices by 25%-50% to tempt me.

  8. This is a thought-provoking article as I have not seen a side-by-side price comparision of XBL and iOS.

    I agree, the XBL games are grossly over priced. I just purchased the VZW HTC so I am somewhat new to the WP. But, I was certainly not expecting the games (especially XBL) to be priced so high. Seems ironic that Windows claims they reworked their WP with the customer in mind, but the prices of the XBL games say otherwise.

    XBL prices need to come down.

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  10. It does not seem very complicated, it is even more evident to my mind: M $ developers looking primarily to the disadvantage of certain customers of its Marketplace.
    Which fortunately for us, customers affected, is also clear (I guess) is that the dough does not grow on trees. On a very personal, I did not change my budget apps one iota. I buy just 3 times less than with my 3G … On the Appstore.
    Not sure in the end the developers go there if the majority adopts the same behavior reasonable than mine. Anyway, no question of me milking every four mornings as a good cash cow.

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  19. It would be even better if you added customer base sizes on release. I realize Microsoft have kept these figures under lock and key but you could at least use the current conjectures to test the economic theory. Anyone know some economists who can chime in, cause I truly believe we are all bitching over something Microsoft currently can’t do anything about…

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  25. I am currently bringing this to Microsoft’s attention i don’t think they are aware of what they are doing, heres hoping they sort it out, it would be a crying shame to see Microsoft price themselves completely out of the market.

  26. Hmm I can see what some people have said about the price of games reflecting the size of the market but if Microsoft thinks like that they’re market share isn’t going to grow anytime soon. For me what is available on the app market is just as important as the hardware. App prices at that level don’t exactly make me want to go pick up a windows phone when its time to upgrade.

    I own an xbox and while the achievement points are a fun side challenge they don’t do anything, so I’ll stick to androids and save my money.

  27. I already have to pay a “premium” just to have xbox live, I shouldn’t be raped for the games that come out “live enabled” as well. Not to mention that the fact that people are buying the games, and rating them five stars shows me that idiot consumers are still the biggest problem in the US today. There is no reason Plants V Zombies should be 5$’s on the WP7 platform… it’s an old game, AND I already bought it on my xbox… I shouldn’t have to pay for it again.

    Microsoft is going to kill their own creation by engaging with stupidity such as this.

    • Damn dude, you’re dominating this article with your anger.
      Although here I agree with you that if you buy an XBOX Live game for your 360 then you shouldn’t have to buy it again for your phone. However, I believe Microsoft will be fixing this eventually as I remember reading something about ‘buy the game one place and it works on all their platforms’ or something similar. I’m pretty sure that kind of advance takes time though and won’t happen instantly which is clearly what you demand from the omniscient ‘megacorporation.’

  28. So many games are free but some games like angry birds are free for other phone but why windows phone 7 games so expensive and not free
    Sorry bad English

  29. It is possible that as the Windows Phone becomes more popular, then more companies will make games for the phone (my fingers are crossed for a Grand Theft Auto game, i mean can u imagine that? The beating up hookers and stealing cars on your phone. That would be an easy way to kill spare time) thus increasing competition, forcing companies to lower their prices to increase sales. Someone should go on google and search the price of the first series of Iphone apps. So, as many people have explained, as the market increases in size, the prices begin to fall. Wow, now that i have read over my post, i realize this information was irrelevant, as u probably could have learned all this from a previous person’s statement. At least my statement wont cut off in mid-senta

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