Microsoft Backpedals on Xbox Live Gold Price Hike

Microsoft Backpedals on Xbox Live Gold Price Hike

Microsoft Backpedals on Xbox Live Gold Price Hike

Posted by Muhammad Jarir Kanji

24 Jan, 2021


Well, that didn’t last long. In less than a day since the company announced an increase in the cost for its Xbox Live Gold subscription, the furious response from gamers has now forced Microsoft to reverse the change.

The planned price hike would have seen the monthly subscription price increase by $1, while a 3-month subscription would cost $5 more. The change that got the most attention, though, was the 2x increase in the annual subscription price compared to just last year.

In what was likely a months-long set up by the company, Microsoft stopped selling its $60, 12-month subscription for Xbox Live Gold starting in July of last year. Then, yesterday, it reintroduced the same subscription but offered only six months of service for the same price, effectively doubling the annual subscription cost.

That obviously didn’t go down well with gamers, forcing the company to quickly retract its decision. “We messed up today and you were right to let us know,” the Xbox maker said in a mea culpa published on its website yesterday. “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.”

To further appease gamers, Microsoft also announced a long-awaited change to its online multiplayer policies. You will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online free-to-play titles like Fortnite, making them truly free for the first time ever. Competitors like Sony and Nintendo have offered this option for a while now, so it’s nice to see Microsoft finally catching up.

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. 

In conclusion, existing customers’ subscriptions will renew at their current prices, while new Xbox Live Gold users will have to fork over “$9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.” That is seemingly a return to its pricing from back in July, but the use of “retail” for the 12-month subscription may suggest the annual subscription will only be available via retail channels and not its online store.


About Author

Muhammad Jarir Kanji

Muhammad is a tech geek with over five years of experience as a tech journalist writing for publications like Android Central and Neowin. When he's not writing, you'll find him slaying dragons in Skyrim and conquering empires in Civilization VI.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments