Xbox Live Gold subscriptions received price hikes, then Microsoft backtracked

Polycount

Posts: 2,850   +575
Staff member
What just happened? Microsoft's long-running Xbox Live service hasn't seen a price adjustment in years, despite receiving a few core feature improvements over time (including the 'Games with Gold' program). There was the intention to change that, where Gold subscription fees would be increasing across the board (unless you have an existing 12 or 6-month plan). But scratch that, Microsoft has quickly reacted as shown below.

The size of the price hikes varies depending on the plan you use. For month-to-month subscribers, the increase will only be $1, raising fees from $9.99 to $10.99 a month. 3-month plans are going up by $5 to $29.99. Both modest adjustments, all things considered.

Things get quite a bit more expensive for six-month plans, though. Whereas you'd previously pay $40 for a six-month Gold subscription, you'll now be expected to pay $60.

This means that, for a year of coverage on a six-month plan (billed twice annually), you'll now be paying $120 instead of $80. That's a massive increase no matter how you look at it, especially since Microsoft discontinued its cheaper, $60 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscription option back in July of 2020.

Frankly, it's questionable whether Xbox Live Gold alone even offers enough value to warrant these new costs.

But perhaps that's the point. Many theorize that these price adjustments are meant to push people to sign up for Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which includes Gold as part of its monthly package.

If that is Microsoft's plan, it's a smart one. Ultimate is undeniably a better value than Gold alone, offering up Gold, xCloud, Game Pass, EA Play, and "exclusive perks" for $15/month.

With that said, some gamers would undoubtedly prefer not to pay the extra cash for features they won't use. In those, Gold's increased fees will probably be looked at as nothing more than an annoyance.

Permalink to story.

 

Tom Yum

Posts: 97   +221
"If that is Microsoft's plan, it's a smart one. Ultimate is undeniably a better value than Gold alone, offering up Gold, xCloud, Game Pass, EA Play, and "exclusive perks" for $15/month"

Until MS up the price of Game Pass to $20/mth in 6-12 months time, using the price of Gold as justification. That is the classic 1 - 2 move of retail, push people to the combo by raising the unbundled price, and once people move to the combo, increase the price of that.
 

Superconductor

Posts: 27   +20
The free game bait & switch is obvious. Gold isn't worth jack anymore... and it's not just an annoyance. It's a non-renewal situation. My 24 month sub expires in 2022.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 146   +101
"If that is Microsoft's plan, it's a smart one. Ultimate is undeniably a better value than Gold alone, offering up Gold, xCloud, Game Pass, EA Play, and "exclusive perks" for $15/month"

Until MS up the price of Game Pass to $20/mth in 6-12 months time, using the price of Gold as justification. That is the classic 1 - 2 move of retail, push people to the combo by raising the unbundled price, and once people move to the combo, increase the price of that.

Right, after One fell flat with only 25 market share, they went on he offensive both with cheap all-you-can-game packages, and consistently-discounted One X ($380) and One S ($250) outside the holidays.

Now the viable 33% market-share has been restored, the discounts are reversed!, (and it's been easy-pickings for MS to sell fools consoles at MSRP for the last 6 months!)

Never assume there is not some alterior motive to a console owner! I had actully hated my experemnce using Windows Store to buy MS games, so I said no to this. Also, if you ever wanted to resume a rented game., you had to keep your rentals orr you eventually lose your saves (or I assume pay for the game, in whih case you're pying MS sone and a half times for the right to own a PC game that you wanted to rent first).
 
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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,448   +3,597
I'd just like to point out I freaking called it. Back on july 20th 2020:

And by coincidence, subscribing monthly to game pass costs twice what a 12 month xbox live subscription costs. total coincidence I'm sure.
Used to be a full year was only $50, and 6 months was $25.

They're just gonna continue to increase prices as long as people are willing to pay. Which given the price of games when you factor in all content today, it wouldnt surprise me to see 12 month XBL subs going for over $120 a year for the 12 month and pushing $180 for two 6 month subs within another generation, if not in a few years.
Nah. They are affordable and games are very cheap if you're smart about it. Just you have to be able to do math.
Yakuza 0 on psn 5usd.
That's one game. On average the same games on PC will be cheaper thanks to platform competition. Games that go on sale for $40-30 a year from release on PSN will be going for $10 on PC. I own both platforms, I've seen this happen more then once.

And once you factor in yearly subscription costs for PSN/XBL, assuming you like multiplayer, the consoles get awfully pricy. A $300 PS4 and 7 years of PSN, assuming you bought at launch, would come out to $720 today. That'd buy a decent gaming PC. And for that, you get a locked down platform with subpar streaming capability (amazon prime still doesnt have quality adjustment on PS4, netflix makes the fans go supersonic, ece) and 30- FPS gameplay. We've seen that repeatedly this generation, with games like just cause 3, cyberpunk 2077, battlefield 5, ece that the more powerful PC can brute force poor coding, but the console versions are laiden with poor performance that never gets fixed.

Once you factor in new gen consoles going for $500+, the mounting cost of DLCs, the increased price of subs, ece its starting to get hard to justify the cost of any console VS a midrange gaming PC, especially as the consoles STILL cant maintain 30 FPS running last gen games, let alone something like 1080p60 ultra, which even low end PC gaming GPUs can do now.
 

gigantor21

Posts: 280   +437
TechSpot Elite
This is the main draw for pushing people towards services--at every tech company.

Individual game purchases are more susceptible to market forces, and permanent ownership gives consumers leverage. A Netflix-style model locks people into MS's marketplace entirely on their terms. It also chips away at smaller developers' pricing power, as they now have to compete with a subscription service with tons of games AND big AAA releases.

As more exclusives are added to Game Pass (particularly from the likes of Bethesda), that imbalance will only get worse.

No amount of "good guy" posturing from Phil Spencer makes up for all that.
 
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Tom Yum

Posts: 97   +221
No amount of "good guy" posturing from Phil Spencer makes up for all that.

Absolutely agree, the naivety of some gamers when it comes to Phil Spencer and his 'good for gamers' image just makes me shake my head. And it's not some anti-MS thing, the heads of all the major gaming industry companies are the same, they are all trying to do their jobs, which is extract as much money from gamers as possible with as little investment as possible, to provide as much return on investment to their shareholders.

There are no good guys, no bad guys, just people doing their job, which isn't to make you feel good as a 'gamer', it is to get as much money from you as they can. Keeping you just happy enough to continue engaging with them is part of that. They aren't on your 'side', so think critically about what they provide and why.
 

Dimitrios

Posts: 780   +605
Smart move, due to COVID Amazon is making a killing over rental prices and people staying home to play games is a given. Need I tell more?
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,014   +6,783
We pay enough to buy the games ... to have to pay more to play the game is silly and simply highway robbery. No different than loot boxes, they are designed to free you from your hard earned money ... this is another item the FTC needs to take a serious look at and before you try to educate me on the expense of running these services, I would ask you to take a look at history when plenty of game makers could run servers and multi-player sites at NO charge. You just got to follow the money!
 

fps4ever

Posts: 669   +875
UPDATE: MS already reversed their decision lol.

[UPDATED on 1/22/2021 at 8:52 PM PT

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.

Thank you.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 913   +1,310
Not everybody wants multiplayer 😊
PC is your natural home in the first place.

The amount of single-player content available to the PC through emulators, web apps, fan updates and mods is order of magnitude above and beyond anything any single console generation could ever provide for orders of magnitude less money. You are literally paying Microsoft or Sony money to deprive you of the experience.
 

Thunder6230

Posts: 41   +25
The amount of single-player content available to the PC through emulators, web apps, fan updates and mods is order of magnitude above and beyond anything any single console generation could ever provide for orders of magnitude less money. You are literally paying Microsoft or Sony money to deprive you of the experience.
And why do you think that every user want to use all these features. Btw I have laptop as well to use some if I very very want :D
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,448   +3,597
Today was not great. We always try to do our best for you and today we missed the mark.

Bullshit. This is corporate doublespeak at its finest. If they were "trying to do good by us" they wouldnt be charging for xbox live gold in the first place, nor would they be looking to increase prices. This is merely a "we got caught screwing you, here's a fake apology while we figure out how to screw you later" response.
 
So it seems microsoft only delayed their price hike. On my account subscription web page this is at the bottom of the page
”Starting on 10/28/2021, we’ll charge $9.99 plus applicable taxes every month."