Microsoft U-turns on Xbox Live Gold price increase after backlash from gamers
Microsoft increased the price of Xbox Live Gold yesterday, albeit briefly. The company announced that the cost of one-month membership would go up by $1 per month, with three-month membership increasing by $5.
Unsurprisingly, gamers were not happy at the prospect of paying more, and there was a vocal outcry at what Microsoft had planned. Ever conscious of keeping the customer happy, the company has now backtracked and said that pricing will stay the same. But more than this, it is now possible to play free-to-play games without an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
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The proposed price increase would have brought Xbox Live Gold more in line with Nintendo's and Sony's subscription pricing. But while the price hike would have been justifiable in this sense, it was not something Xbox gamers were happy with -- perhaps a sign of the Coronavirus-related harder times many people are experiencing.
In an update to the initial announcement about a price increase, Microsoft says:
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.
Clearly, the fact that the price of Xbox Live Gold is staying unchanged is great news, but availability of free-to-play games to everyone is something that is going to be welcomed by gamers everywhere.