Just over 24 hours ago Microsoft put up a news post stating that Xbox Live Gold was getting a price increase effective immediately. The now updated post went on to state that in many regions the price of Gold hadn’t seen an increase in over 10 years, and in their effort to regularly evaluate the sevice had come to the conclusion that doubling the price of Gold – from $60 per year to $120 – was now required.
There was a slight silver lining in there in the quote “If you’re an existing online 12-month or 6-month Xbox Live Gold member, there’s no price change. If you choose to renew your membership, it will renew at your current price”. But even that small allowance wasn’t enough to prevent the (deserved in our opinion) backlash brewing immediately.
Doubling the price of the base subscription without any good reason is one thing, not offering any sort of incentive (more GWG, for example) is another, but doing all of this when so many are facing hardships thanks to the pandemic is just madness. Sure, Gold is hardly essential spending but at the same time a lot of people have taken to playing online while being stuck at home to keep up with friends and family. And of course, going back to the quote, those who are already signed up wouldn’t have been affected as long as their sub didn’t lapse. But it’s still a pretty shitty move all round, made worse by the expectation and rumour being that Gold would be going away altogether.
Just a few hours ago, as of writing, Xbox updated the article to state that they had heard the loud feedback and were not only reverting the prices back to their original states, but are also actually bringing in a long overdue improvement – Free To Play games will no longer require the paid Gold subscription to work! Xbox has long been the outlier here in forcing players to pay to access titles such as Fortnite, Warzone, Rocket League et all, whereas on literally every other system those exact titles are playable for free completely.
It came out of a truly dreadful decision, but that this will be implemented “in the coming months” is a fantastic step in the right direction. Many are calling for Gold to go away entirely which might still happen, but in all honesty there are those that don’t want the expense of Game Pass, no matter how much we might sing its praises as The Best Deal In Gaming.
It’ll also mean that the Free To Play Halo Infinite multiplayer will now have that much bigger an audience when it launches later this year (hopefully).
There are no doubt plenty of families out there who have been strongarmed into Gold so the kids can play Fortnite with friends, so now they can free up that $60/£50 a year for more important things, like food.
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