Xbox Live has been around for almost two decades, but Microsoft doesn’t seem very keen on its premium “Gold” option anymore. The subscription service, which is required for most online multiplayer games, is going up in price. Microsoft told subscribers that its monthly cost would increase from $9.99 to $10.99 per month, further pushing subscribers towards Game Pass.
Update: After quick outcry at the price increase of longer-term Xbox Live Gold purchases, Microsoft has reversed today’s price increase, reinstating the original price. So $10 a month, $25 for three months, and $40 for six months is back, and so is the money-saving $60 for twelve months option. The 6- and 12-month options aren’t live on the Xbox Live Gold store listing yet, but should be at some point.
In addition, Microsoft says that free-to-play online multiplayer games, like Fortnite, will no longer need a paid Xbox Live Gold membership in order to play.
The rest of the original story follows.
You can still save money on a multi-month package, with 3-month and 6-month bundles at $30 and $60, respectively. But those prices are more expensive than they used to be: the 3-month option is $5 more, while the 6-month option is $20 more. A 12-month option is effectively doubled: Microsoft is no longer selling it, and it used used to be just $60, a significant savings. There hasn’t been an option to buy anything more than three months at a time from Microsoft for half a year, thought stores like Amazon are still selling codes at the old prices.
As has been its pattern for the last year or two, Microsoft is trying to push Xbox Live Gold subscribers onto Game Pass Ultimate, its all-in-one subscription service for online games, all-you-can-eat games on Xbox and PC, and game streaming on mobile (soon to come to other platforms). Existing Xbox Live Gold subscribers are being given the option to convert their remaining Gold time to Game Pass, even if they have almost a year left—a good deal, since Game Pass Ultimate is $15 a month. Xbox Live Gold comes with some free games, but only two a month.
Microsoft says that its Xbox Live system isn’t going away anytime soon, and there are no plans for long-awaited changes, like free access to online multiplayer for free-to-play titles. The changes aren’t immediate or universal: current Gold subscribers are getting at least 45 days to choose between paying more for a subscription, converting to Game Pass Ultimate, or simply dropping Xbox online services altogether.
Considering how hard it is to find an Xbox Series X or Series S right now, Microsoft might not like the answer it gets from some gamers.
Source: The Verge