Microsoft revealed plans in August to increase Xbox Live Gold's price
from $50 to $60 a year. It goes without saying that many loyal subscribers were disappointed in that announcement, especially because Microsoft wasn't particularly forthcoming about its reasoning. With the price change now in effect, the company has shared its rationale in an interview with Gamasutra
. In a nutshell, Microsoft raised Gold pricing to account for the extra services and exclusive content added since the Xbox 360's launch -- not to mention the substantial growth in users.
"In 2002 it was strictly multiplayer gaming. Now we get those Call of Duty map packs before anybody else does. We've got Gears and Halo, of course, as exclusives. We continue to get exclusives on the service as well. And we've gone from 400,000 members in our first year to 25 million," said Xbox Live marketing senior director Craig Davison. Davison said that Microsoft plans to continue adding services to Xbox Live, but that doesn't come cheap. "We also want to continue to innovate on all dimensions, whether it's social, entertainment, or gaming," he noted.