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Microsoft Says Latest $60 Xbox Live Gold Price Hike Won't Happen

Microsoft Says Latest $60 Xbox Live Gold Price Hike Won't Happen

The really controversial decision by Microsoft was taken back, almost immediately following quite a lot of backlash, due to the 2X price.

The really controversial decision by Microsoft was taken back, almost immediately following quite a lot of backlash, due to the 2X price.

Credit | Microsoft

Microsoft backtracked hard, and quickly from their previous statement to increase Xbox Live Gold prices by double in some cases. In a new statement, the company said that:

“We (Xbox) 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.”

Microsoft originally planned on increasing US Gold subscription costs a dollar to $11/month, 3 months for $30, or 6 months for $60. That would also mean $120 for a year of Gold, compared to the previous half-off deal, at $60 per year. Remember, that means a 100% increase for a year of Gold, a massive undercut to the previous deal that Gold provided.

For those that aren’t familiar, Xbox Live Gold gives you access to online multiplayer games, free games (Games with Gold), and a few deals and promotions as a subscriber. It’s really been known as a deal, due to the free games, but nobody’s necessarily gone out of their way to get it, unless they had to.

Apparently Microsoft believed that people wanted Gold to have Gold, vs the actual expectation that subscribers had subscribed for access to free games and multiplayer. They took pricing into their own hands, and decided that a price increase would be a good idea.

The massive outrage provided proof to Microsoft that they really shouldn’t have made that decision, as thousands were upset by the upwards of 100% increase in costs for the subscription. 

The company followed up their original statement with the statement in the first section, announcing their intention to not only not increase prices, but finally allow online access to games’ multiplayers, if they’re free-to-play.

That’s been a big issue with Gold for a while now, as people who really didn’t want to spend money on multiplayer for a free game, had had to either spend that money on Gold, or just not play online. By getting rid of that cost to enter, Microsoft is more aligned with Sony and Nintendo on their online decisions, providing access to multiplayer in games like Warzone, Fortnite, Paladins, and Brawlhalla.

The pricing, now having had time to be analyzed, had seemingly been meant to push users and subscribers to Microsoft’s more expensive, but more beneficial Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Ultimate runs for $15 per month, with no annual or repetitive discounts, compared to Gold’s $10 or $5 per month if you buy the annual pass. Their adjusted pricing would have placed Gold at $11/month or $10/month no matter what, compared to Ultimate’s $15.

Game Pass Ultimate includes not only Xbox Live Gold, but also:

  • Cloud gaming service, xCloud 
  • More than 100 games on Xbox
  • More than 100 games on PC
  • More than 100 games on your phone or tablet
  • New Xbox Game Studio titles
  • Day one access to first-party titles (soon to include Bethesda titles)

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Even with all of those benefits, people don’t want to either look for deals online, or fork up $180 per year, when you could get the equivalent Gold usage for $60 per year, especially if you didn’t want or need any of the extras.

Throw in the fact that the most popular game on Xbox, Fortnite, is free, and that really wouldn’t give Microsoft any reason to try to force you onto Live Gold. It really doesn’t make sense why they attempted this however, as they not only cancelled the entire change soon afterwards, but also announced the addition of free games’ multiplayer for free.

It really seems as though this entire thing was a publicity stunt to give Microsoft attention, allowing their whole ‘free game, free multiplayer’ situation to seem even more grand than it was, as the company’s just following Sony and Nintendo.

But whatever; you do you Microsoft.