Microsoft announces North American Xbox Live 2.0 pricing

Subscriptions via dashboard priced, confirmed; long-term prices stay steady, one-month subscriptions rise.


At the end of August, online retailers began listing product pages for subscription rates for the next generation of Xbox Live, sometimes referred to as Xbox Live 2.0. The prices barely differed from those of the current generation of Xbox Live, with only the minimal one-month plans rising in price and extra incentive pushed onto goodie-laden Xbox Live packages.

As noted before, Xbox Live Silver memberships will be free to all Xbox 360 owners. This basic level of service includes the ability to create a gamer profile, to send and receive text and voice messages, to access the Xbox Live Marketplace and download content, demos, and trailers, and to buy simple game features in the Xbox Live Arcade.

The Gold memberships include all the features of the Silver level, plus the ability to play online games, access enhanced matchmaking, and gain exclusive privileges and rewards on Xbox Live Marketplace.

Microsoft today officially announced the pricing for Xbox Live 2.0, confirming that the retailers had it right. The list of basic Xbox Live Gold subscription rates is as follows:

One-month subscription: $7.99 (CND$8.99)
Three-month subscription: $19.99 (CND$24.99)
12-month subscription:$49.99 (CND$59.99)

The above plans can be purchased directly through the Xbox Live dashboard with a credit card or can be bought at retailers in the form of subscription cards.

Gamers looking to spend a little more and get some value in return can focus their attention on the Xbox Live Gold packages. They come in three-month and 12-month plans and can be purchased from retailers. They break down as follows:

Three-month Xbox Live Premium Gold Pack
• All Gold-level features
• Joust (Xbox Live Arcade game)
• Xbox 360 Headset
• $10 mail-in game rebate coupon good for any Xbox 360 game
• 100 Microsoft points for use on Xbox Live Marketplace
• SRP: $39.99

12-month Xbox Live Premium Gold Pack
• All Gold-level features
• Bankshot Billiards (Xbox Live Arcade game)
• Xbox 360 Headset
• $20 mail-in game rebate coupon good for any Xbox 360 game
• 200 Microsoft points for use on Xbox Live Marketplace
• SRP: $69.99

Those hoping for a hint at the release date of the Xbox 360 weren't thrown any bones. Microsoft states the release date for the new Xbox Live services as "this holiday."

Microsoft also touted the current state of Xbox Live, which now has more than a billion hours logged. Houston, Texas, claims the top spot as the "Live"liest city in the world, with London taking the top spot outside of the United States. Almost a third of Xbox Live gamers are in the prime demographic of 18 to 30 years of age, and more than a third are currently raking in an estimated $60,000 a year or more.

First-person shooters are the top choice among Live users, with Halo 2, Rainbow Six 3, and Counter-Strike taking the top three spots. Though wargames dominate the top 10 list, Microsoft Game Studios' Project Gotham Racing 2 snuck into the number four slot. The top 10 list is as follows:

Rank / Title
1. Halo 2
2. Rainbow Six 3
3. Counter-Strike
4. Project Gotham Racing 2
5. MechAssault
6. Rainbow Six: Black Arrow
7. Ghost Recon
8. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2
9. Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
10. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

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