Home Gaming Xbox Live Gold price increases cancelled after Microsoft changes course

Xbox Live Gold price increases cancelled after Microsoft changes course

2 min read

Friday ended with a bit of a shocker, as Microsoft announced that it would soon be jacking the price of Xbox Live Gold up considerably (A bit of a sting after the local price was reduced in 2019). Many pundits presumed that this was an effort to drive more people towards adopting an Xbox Game Pass subscription, but whatever the true reasoning behind the move, folks weren’t exactly impressed.

The original plan would have resulted in Xbox Live Gold essentially doubling in price from its usual $60 fee for a year-long sub up to $120. Considering that the subscription service is needed to play free-to-play games (something which Sony avoids on PlayStation with its PS Plus service), and Xbox users were understandably ticked off.

A few hours after the announcement and a digital brouhaha, Microsoft reveresed course and announced that not only would there be no Xbox Live Gold price increases for the forseeable future, but that free-to-play games would no require the Gold tier subscription to be played. “We messed up today and you were right to let us know,” Microsoft said in a statement.

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.

It’s not clear when free-to-play games such as Destiny 2, Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone will be exempt from needing the subscription to be accessible, but it is coming. According to industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, this shift was always the plan for Microsoft and had been brewing for months, with the fan backlash to the price increase of Xbox Live Gold being the driving factor behind announcing it.

Whatever your taste is right now, the end result is that nothing else is changing. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will still offer its usual selection of goodies and Xbox Live Gold within its subscription price, but if that’s too pricy a service for you, you can settle for just plain ol’ Gold instead, which also drops a handful of Games With Gold freebies at the beginning of each month.

Last Updated: January 25, 2021


  1. Never could understand this from either Sony or M$, but especially M$.

    Sure the maintenance cost of maintaining the network infrastructure and service is large but surely game publishers should be carrying that cost to bring the game services to the end customers.


    • MechMachine

      January 25, 2021 at 04:21

      No, not really. Game publishers pay for the cost of dedicated servers if their games require those. So I doubt that factors in to the cost of a monthly subscription to a console manufacturer. While it is rather shitty, it makes business sense in the world we live in today. MS and Sony are catering to a specific audience so they can add in bespoke features that target that audience. Theoretically, you don’t need it. You can buy PS games at a store and play em to your hearts content. Just not online. You do get incentives, monthly free games and access to their network, some nebulous thing which is part of the net. I used to think it was a scam, now I see it as part of the ” meta ” right alongside everything else. It’s when it becomes prohibitively expensive is when it’s a problem.

      Yeah, and publisher carrying the cost of anything is a joke. Look at activision. Their flagship IP is burning to the ground at the moment and all they need to do to fix it is develop some form of anti cheat, but rather than do so, they focus all their best work on the in-game store. Meanwhile the game has Infinite stim glitches, Infinite Juggernauts, Indivisibility bugs ( In a multiplayer game ), Numerous broken meta weapons one after another and these things just keep coming and going. What was once a fairly fun game has turned into such a toxic cheater infested cesspool that the last two tournaments have have cheating allegations ruin them.

      Back to your original point, Some of us choose to live the peasant life.Pay a little extra, get a few free games here and there. Chill out in front of the TV. Why not.


      • HvR

        January 25, 2021 at 04:58

        Way back when I did at the then price point I did see the value in PS+ for the monthly games. But as the price increased drastically and the free game value decreased I chose not to renew .. then realised how hampered the system is basically loosing out on the MP aspect of games I already pay a console price premium for. Which made me jump back to PC.

        But you are sort of making my point; say I do not have a interest in the free games (which is how most gamers I suspect justify the comparibly expensive service). You already paid for the hardware, you already pay for the service and infrastructure for the comms via your ISP, the publisher apparently pay for the servers and coupled administration. So you are giving R80 a month for unique generated player ID, store access and for the console manufacture to connect your ID to publisher’s service.


  2. MechMachine

    January 25, 2021 at 04:23

    To their credit, they backtracked. Now, about those games that aren’t anywhere in sight ?


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