There’s controversy afoot with the Xbox family. Today, Microsoft announced a shift in pricing for Xbox Live Gold, the service that has backed online gaming on the various Xbox platforms for well over a decade. The most notable aspect of this price shift is that it effectively doubles the yearly rate, from around $60 USD to $120 USD.
There are several details to note here, especially if you’re currently subscribing to Xbox Live Gold. As printed in the official Xbox Wire blog post, folks who currently hold a six or 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscription won’t see the new price when it comes time to renew. Presumably the pricing shift kicks in the following year. Monthly subscribers will see the price go up one dollar to $10.99, while the three-month chunks are going up to $29.99, a five dollar increase.
The biggest change, which already follows Microsoft discontinuing 12-month membership cards, is that six months will now cost $59.99. This doubles the full year, and people in the gaming community are actively pointing to PlayStation Plus now being half the price. Currently the matter is trending on Twitter, the snippet there saying “some [are] seeing it as a way to force consumers into a Game Pass Subscription.”
Microsoft is clearly aiming to make Xbox Game Pass Ultimate the marquee way to subscribe to its umbrella of Xbox services. That’s regardless of the intent with making standard Xbox Live Gold more expensive. There seems to be an attempt to soften the blow with February’s Games With Gold lineup, which includes one more game than the usual four.
While a lot of gamers refer to Game Pass Ultimate as “the best deal in gaming,” there’s no doubt a large number of users who haven’t made the transition yet for various reasons. Where the community narrative goes from here is anyone’s guess, but for now it’s looking like Game Pass Ultimate is headed to being presented as the financially logical route to take.