Microsoft Reverses Course on Price Increase for Xbox Live Gold Memberships [UPDATE]
According to Microsoft, the pricing for Xbox Live Gold will see an increase across almost all of its membership tiers starting today.
[UPDATE, 01/23/21] Following the announcement of the price increases and largely negative fan reaction, Microsoft has detailed that it is changing its plans and will not be increasing the pricing for Xbox Live Gold. Additionally, the company also announced that free-to-play games will no longer require an Xbox Live Gold membership to play, with those changes being implemented on the service “in the coming months.”
You can read Microsoft’s official statement on the change here:
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.
With its range of services like Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft has continued to invest heavily into subscription services that offer Xbox console owners value and convenience. However, as it tends to happen, subscription services typically go through price increases over time, with Microsoft introducing price increases for most of the varying levels of Xbox Live Gold memberships.
In an update on Xbox Wire, Microsoft officially detailed a new pricing structure for Xbox Live Gold membership plans, with most of the current tiers going up in price. Specifically, one-month memberships will be $10.99 (a $1 increase), three-month subscriptions will be $29.99 (a $5 increase), and six-month memberships will now be priced at $59.99. Microsoft detailed that those that currently have a six or 12-month subscription in place will not experience a price increase for the rest of that membership; once the membership is up for renewal, users will then see the new prices go into effect.
Alongside the price increases, Microsoft also detailed that users will be able to convert any current Xbox Live Gold membership time into an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription at no additional cost. For example, Microsoft mentioned that if a user has 11 months of an Xbox Live Gold subscription, they will be able to convert that time into 11 months of membership for Game Pass Ultimate.
Microsoft noted that Xbox Live’s pricing hasn’t changed in over 10 years, and mentioned that “periodically, we assess the value and pricing of our services to reflect changes in regional marketplaces and to continue to invest in the Xbox community,” with the latest pricing seeming to reflect that. Notably, last year Microsoft discontinued the one-year membership option for Xbox Live Gold, seemingly as a precursor to increasing the pricing on its other membership options. It’s also likely that Microsoft may be using this as a way to drive users towards Game Pass Ultimate, as Game Pass continues to be a lucrative investment for Microsoft with a growing user base.