On January 22, Microsoft announced an Xbox Live Gold price increase that would double the yearly rate, raising it from $60 (USD) per year to $120 (USD) per year. The reaction to this was understandably negative, with gamers pointing out that the increase would make Xbox Live Gold almost double the price of PlayStation Plus.
It wasn’t a small increase, it would have a noticeable impact on Xbox Live Gold subscribers. It also raised concerns about Microsoft potentially looking to encourage Xbox owners to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate instead of sticking with Xbox Live Gold on its own.
As concerning as all of this was, there is a bit of good news to report as Microsoft quickly reversed their decision to increase the price of Xbox Live Gold in response to widespread gamer backlash. Now, there will be no Xbox Live Gold price increase. Whether Microsoft revisits the idea in the future remains to be seen, though.
Microsoft Changes Mind On Xbox Live Gold Price Increase
As quickly as the announcement about a price increase for Xbox Live Gold was made, Microsoft reversed the decision, admitting that it had been a mistake. On their blog, Microsoft opened by saying they had messed up, before confirming that Xbox Live Gold subscribers won’t have to worry about a price increase.
“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,” Microsoft explained.
“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 note about using the price increase suggestion, and reversal, as a way to improve Xbox Live Gold is interesting. It’s certainly appreciated to see that within the next few months Microsoft will implement a change that allows gamers to enjoy free-to-play games without an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
However, there are still concerns in regards to Microsoft’s future plans. Will the idea of a price increase for Xbox Live Gold come up in the future? Perhaps ones that are more subtle in nature, instead of doubling the yearly cost from $60 (USD) to $120 (USD)? It’s possible.
It’s also possible that Microsoft may look to gradually increase the cost of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Prior to the launch of next-gen consoles, the price of AAA games rising to $70 (USD) was heavily debated over, with some for the increase and others against the increase.
We imagine the conversation in regards to services like Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass will be similar. That said, almost everyone can agree that a dramatic increase from $60 (USD) to $120 (USD) was the wrong step for Microsoft to take.
We applaud Microsoft for realizing their mistake and swiftly popping in to correct it. Should discussion about price changes for Xbox Live Gold and/or Xbox Game Pass be revisited, we’ll be sure to update you. Until then, rest assured that the cost of your Xbox Live Gold subscription won’t be increasing, and you won’t be forced to purchase an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription if you don’t want to.