Update 23rd January: Following its announcement yesterday that the price of Xbox Live Gold was to be increased immediately, today Microsoft has reversed the decision. Gold will remain at the same price.
The reversal is a result of a negative reaction to Microsoft’s decision.
Along with the news that the price of Xbox Live Gold is no longer changing, Microsoft has also announced that Xbox users will no longer need a Gold subscription to play free games online. That is a change that will be rolled out in the coming months.
Original story follows below.
Today, Microsoft has announced it is raising the price of Xbox Live Gold.
In existence since the launch of Xbox 360, Xbox Live Gold allows gamers to play their games online along with providing access to various perks. The greatest of those perks is Games With Gold, which provides subscribers with a handful of free games a month. It’s already a service of questionable value, since it exists alongside Xbox Game Pass. But with its price increasing immediately, it becomes even more questionable.
Going forward, a one-month Gold membership is increasing by $1, and a three-month Gold membership is increasing by $5. The new prices are:
- One month: $10.99
- Three months: $29.99
- Six months: $59.99
We’ve not yet seen a confirmed UK price, though it looks like it’ll be increasing in all regions.
Microsoft says the price increase is to reflect changes in the market, and in some regions, the price of Xbox Live Gold hasn’t changed in ten years. That’s understandable, but for Xbox players who need Gold to play online, it’s still a bit of a kicker.
Our gut tells us the increase is more than likely to drive users to subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate instead, a service that bundles together Game Pass for Console, Game Pass for PC, EA Access and Xbox Live Gold. Currently, that’s $14.99 a month. So an extra $4 a month gets you access three whole extra services, which by themselves would cost a combined $24 a month (!).
However, we have to wonder if there’ll also be an increase to the cost of Game Pass Ultimate to compensate. We’ll have to wait and see.
Ultimately, we feel like Microsoft has had the perfect opportunity to get rid of Xbox Live Gold for good. While we still don’t feel it’s fair we have to pay to play our own games over our own internet connections, it’s something we’ve learned to live with. But maybe it should be bundled with Game Pass as standard. Or maybe Gold’s basic function – as an online pass – should be available by itself at a much cheaper rate. Because the other benefits of Gold, particularly its free games, lost any real value the moment Game Pass came into existence.
However, if you do rely on using Xbox Live Gold, we recommend stacking up from third parties, where you can still pick it up relatively cheaply. Currently, a year of Xbox Live Gold is available for £44.99 from CD Keys.