Rumours of a price hike for Xbox Live Gold subscription had been stirring around the gaming community.
Yesterday, it seemed as if Microsoft had hit the final nail in the coffin Xbox Live Gold’s price hike was revealed, charging almost $11 per month – 1-month for $10.99, 3-months for $29.99, and 6-months for $59.99. As soon as the announcement rolled out, there was a severe backlash from gamers, criticizing Microsoft of their greedy tactics. Memes started going around the gaming circles about not only how Microsoft was forcing gamers to spend more for Xbox Live Gold, but also the fact that Microsoft is the only company that currently has free-to-play games behind a paywall.
In a historic turn of events, Microsoft not only reverted the prices of Xbox Live Gold back to their original rates but also removed the requirement of Xbox Gold to access free to play games. Previously, unlike Sony and Nintendo, Xbox users needed an active Gold subscription to access two free-to-play games that came out every month. This move marks Microsoft’s departure from a pseudo-free-to-play system to a truly free-to-play environment. The commendable fact here is that not only Microsoft had the guts to apologize and revert their decision, but also do it within such a short time span.
The original PR announcement that brought upon the news of price hike is now updated to show an apology as well as the move to a truly free-to-play environment:
[UPDATED on 1/22/2021 at 8:52 PM PT]
We messed up today and you were right to let us know. 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 centre 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.
If you are an Xbox Live Gold member already, you stay at your current price for renewal. New and existing members can continue to enjoy Xbox Live Gold for the same prices they pay today. In the US, $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.
In the new truly free-to-play environment, console players will be finally able to play games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty Warzone without spending a fortune on Gold. This is also bound to add value to Xbox Series S/X and bump up their sales in future as Microsoft is now looking head-to-head with Sony.