Microsoft Reverses Xbox Live Gold Price Increase, Unlocks Free-To-Play Games For Everyone
Responding to an avalanche of negative feedback, Microsoft announces that Xbox Live Gold is NOT getting more expensive.
[UPDATE] Microsoft pulled a 180 overnight and announced that it is reversing its planned Xbox Live Gold price increase. The subscription will NOT get more expensive, and free-to-play games are getting unlocked for everyone to play for free without a subscription. In the end, things are actually cheaper overall than before. Sometimes customers' feedback is heeded!
According to industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, the decision to make free-to-play multiplayer truly free was "in the works for months," and the response to the news of the price increase was just a catalyst for announcing it. But this doesn't change the focus Microsoft is going to continue putting on Game Pass. You'll still get Gold included in Game Pass Ultimate. You'll also still get Games With Gold through the service.
The F2P announcement has been in the works for months and that announcement was dropped today to help offset the backlash from the original price increase announcement.— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) January 23, 2021
Microsoft will continue its focus on Game Pass moving forward, and its acquisition of IP for the service.
Here is Microsoft's statement:
"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."
Apologies for all the angst and emotion this caused today for our customers. As always, we appreciate the feedback. This is a good learning opportunity for us and we will learn from it.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 23, 2021
Microsoft made this reversal in the wake of an avalanche of negative feedback against the company that spilled out on social media and other circles.
As the statement says, the change for free-to-play games will take some time, so you'll still need a Gold subscription for games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnite, but not for much longer.
Microsoft's planned price increase was seen by some as a targeted move to encourage people to sign up for the relatively better deal of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Clearly, people did not like that idea, and Microsoft has now reversed course and pledged to do better in the future.
The original story follows below.
Xbox Live Gold is about to get more expensive for some people. Microsoft confirmed on Friday that the cost of a one-month subscription is going up by $1 USD, while 3-month subscriptions will now cost $5 USD more.
The new pricing structure for Xbox Live Gold will be as follows:
- 1 month - $11
- 3 months -- $30
- 6 months -- $60
This is only a little bit less than a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which is priced as follows:
- 1 month - $15
- 3 months - $45
Sony's PlayStation Plus service is now priced much lower than Xbox Live Gold if you're not renewing a membership:
- 1 month - $10
- 3 months - $25
- 12 months - $60
Explaining the price hike, Microsoft provided the following statement:
"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; we’ll be making price adjustments for Xbox Live Gold in select markets. In many markets, the price of Xbox Live Gold has not changed for years and in some markets, it hasn’t changed for over 10 years."
Existing subscribers on a 6-month or 12-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold will not see a price increase to their plan, and they can resubscribe at the same price.
Xbox users who want to upgrade from Xbox Live Gold to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (which includes Gold and Game Pass), the remaining Gold time will covert to Ultimate.
"For example, if you have 11 months of Xbox Live Gold now, and you upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, those 11 months convert to 11 months of Ultimate at no additional cost," Microsoft said. Microsoft has been pushing Game Pass very aggressively over the last few years, making it clear that it's the future of the Xbox brand.
Players will be notified of the price increases through an email and via an Xbox message that should arrive in your inboxes over the next month. The price increases won't go into effect until at least 45 days after you receive the notification.
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