Update 23/01: The swift backlash to Microsoft’s announce Xbox Live Gold price hike has seen Microsoft reverse their position and actually make a change for the better. There will now be no change to the current price structure, as of last July, and in addition, you will no longer need Xbox Live Gold in order to play free-to-play games like Fortnite, Rocket League and others online. Microsoft will make the change in the coming months
This is a great U-turn following a serious misstep by the company. The move would have doubled the price of Xbox Live Gold per year, and while you still can’t buy a 12 month subscription for $59.99 on the Microsoft Store, it’s available at retail.
Here’s their statement:
We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.
We’re turning this moment into an opportunity to bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience. For free-to-play games, you will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox. We are working hard to deliver this change as soon as possible in the coming months.
If you are an Xbox Live Gold member already, you stay at your current price for renewal. New and existing members can continue to enjoy Xbox Live Gold for the same prices they pay today. In the US, $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.
The original article follows:
Microsoft have announced a price hike for Xbox Live Gold, their subscription service which enables online multiplayer on Xbox consoles and also bundles in monthly free games with Games with Gold. The price hike is such that Xbox Live Gold will now cost you twice as much per year than PlayStation Plus.
The price of a 1 month Gold membership is increasing by $1 USD to $10.99, while a 3 month membership is jumping up by $5 USD to $29.99, and a 6 month option will be offered at a flat $59.99. This price hike will roll out to many countries around the world, but regional pricing has yet to be revealed.
There’s a bit of a freeze for existing subscribers, thankfully, with 12-month and 6-month members able to renew at the current prices. You have 45 days after you receive an email and a message centre notification on Xbox before the changes come into effect for those subscribers.
Microsoft justify the change saying “In many markets, the price of Xbox Live Gold has not changed for years and in some markets, it hasn’t changed for over 10 years.”
However, all of this comes after Microsoft decided to remove the 12 month and 24 month subscription options from the Microsoft Store last summer. Up until that point the 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscription cost $59.99. Now, just half a year later, Microsoft will charge the same $59.99 for a 6 month subscription. They’ve effectively doubled the price for a large number of their users – as a get out, you can still pick up 12 month subscriptions at retail, but these could quite easily disappear.
That’s especially galling when PlayStation Plus is still 1 month for $9.99, 3 months for $24.99 and 12 months for $59.99, offering an equivalent online service and arguably featuring better, more valuable selections of free games each month.
Of course, this is all a push to get more people to upsell to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which bundles in a large library of games together with online multiplayer for $14.99 per month – without multi-month discount bundles. You can still do a straight upgrade from Live Gold to Game Pass Ultimate, converting an existing subscription 1:1 when signing up for Ultimate, with a limit of up to 3 years. It’s a mightily appealing option, but then that’s why Microsoft are being so aggressive with the price of Gold.
While Game Pass is often touted as being a fantastic deal for gamers, we’ve also got to be plain and to the point about the other half of Microsoft’s business: Xbox Live Gold is now a very bad deal.