Microsoft backtracks on Xbox Gold price increase

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Last Friday, Microsoft announced that it will be doubling the price for its Xbox Gold subscription service from $60 for a year-long fee to $120 for the same package.

Local users will note that this meant a 12-month subscription for Xbox Gold would jump from nearly a grand to nearly two grand. As was expected, this news was met with the same reception one might give a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses who turned up at one in the morning, asking if they could perhaps dispose of some body parts in the tub.

To wit, Microsoft was roundly flamed at over the weekend, and the software giant has responded quite contritely. You can read its full response on the official blog but the meat of the matter is quoted below:

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.

Thank you.

On top of all that, players won’t need an Xbox Gold subscription to play Free-To-Play games such as Fortnite — a feature that both Sony and Nintendo already offer on their platforms. Well, Microsoft has pledged to make this possible — when this feature actually arrives is another story.

This recent price hike could be looked at as an attempt on the part of Microsoft to funnel players away from the Xbox Gold subscription towards its Xbox Ultimate Games Pass subscription. As it stands currently, players willing to shell out $9.99 a month get a Game Pass on their Xbox console or their PC. However, the Ultimate Game Pass, currently priced at $14.99 a month gives them access to not just Microsoft’s Game Pass library, but also EA Play’s library and xCloud, Microsoft’s cloud gaming service.

That having been said, if you’re a Fortnite, PUBG or WarFrame player, it’s unlikely you’d like your wallet being hit more than it currently is.

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I've been writing about tech and games for around 20 years. Been playing games since I was tall enough to reach the controls on an arcade machine. Old enough to remember when games weren't something people yelled at each other about.

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