The previous cost of a year will now only buy half a year.
In order to play games online on a Microsoft game console, whether it be the Xbox One, Xbox Series X, or Xbox Series S, a user needs a subscription to Xbox Live Gold. In previous iterations of this service, users could buy a year’s subscription to the service for $59.99, approximately the price of a regular video game. Last year, Microsoft removed the ability to purchase a whole year for that price, but users could still buy half a year for $29.99, ultimately amounting to the same cost. However, it seems that pricing is coming to an end.
Microsoft announced today that it will be raising the cost of Xbox Live Gold subscriptions to effectively double their previous rate. A 6-month subscription to the service will now cost $59.99, double its previous cost. The other membership rates are also rising, with a 3-month membership now costing $29.99 and a 1-month membership costing $10.99. In a concession to those that just recently re-upped their subscription, users will not be required to pay the updated rates until their current subscription runs out.
“If you’re in a region where prices are being adjusted, you will receive an email and a message center notification over the next month letting you know what the new pricing is for your membership,” says Microsoft.
This decision has been met with heavy criticism, as users have been asking Microsoft for a long time to scrap the cost of Xbox Live altogether, or at least not require a subscription for free online games like Fortnite. Some have theorized that this price hike is part of an effort on Microsoft’s part to push users away from Xbox Live Gold and toward Xbox Games Pass Ultimate, which bundles online service with other features. Microsoft’s chief competitor, Sony, still charges $59.99 for a whole year of service, which may put them at a disadvantage in the pricing department.