After outrage, Microsoft decides to not increase Xbox Live Gold pricing
Oh, and free-to-play games will no longer need Live Gold to play online.
It seems that Microsoft has done an Xbox 360 on its plans to increase the price of Xbox Live Gold, as the price won’t be increasing. What’s more, Microsoft will be making it so you won’t need Xbox Live Gold to play any of the free-to-play games on Xbox.
In the same blog post that they announced the original price hike, is a retraction starting “We messed up today…” That retraction means that Xbox Live Gold will still be $10 a month, or discounted prices if you prepay, like $59.99 for 12 months of service.
Xbox must have known this backlash would come. Whatever your feelings on having to pay for multiplayer services, getting a sudden doubling of your costs is going to annoy almost anyone. It doesn’t appear to be a snap decision though, as Forbes’ Paul Tassi notes that “they had already printed and shipped new cards to stores reflecting the higher price.”
That means the real surprise here is how quickly Xbox pulled the plug on the planned price increase. We’re not used to large companies actually hearing their userbase and moving swiftly. Kudos to Xbox for that, although it was a problem of its own making.
Trying to push people to a $15 per month subscription for Game Pass Ultimate by making Xbox Live Gold financially unpalatable was a dick move. If people aren’t moving to Ultimate while paying $10 a month recurring, or $60 a year, they’re not going to move. Most likely they prefer to own their games, or the 100+ titles are ones they already own, or maybe they like to trade in their used game discs when they’re done.
Maybe that will change in the future, as the game studios Microsoft keeps buying finish their must-play games. It’s also possible that since Xbox Live Gold is technically free if you subscribe to Ultimate, that Microsoft will scrap the need to pay for multiplayer features across all titles, not just free-to-play ones. Until then, long live the cheap 12-month Xbox Live Gold cards.
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