Microsoft is reportedly increasing the cost of Xbox Live Gold, and some gamers are worried the news may be another indication that Xbox Game Pass is more of an inevitability than an option for Xbox owners. Xbox Live, the service that allows gamers to connect and play online, has been all but essential on Xboxes since Microsoft launched its first console.
But while pricing and plans have changed several times over the years, gamers were concerned on Friday when news of a big price increase for Xbox Live Gold made the rounds. According to The Verge, Microsoft started to notify customers who pay for Xbox Live Gold monthly that the price of the service will increase in a big way in the coming months.
The software giant has started notifying existing Xbox Live Gold members of the changes in certain markets, and it will see the price rise by a dollar to $10.99 per month in the US and $5 for a three-month membership.
Twelve-month and six-month pricing is also going up, but the increase won’t affect existing subscribers here. Three months will now be priced at $29.99, with six months at $59.99. Microsoft is also allowing Xbox Live Gold members to convert their remaining Gold time into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (up to 36 months). The conversion means if you have 11 months of Xbox Live Gold left on your account, you can upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and convert it into 11 months of Ultimate with no extra costs.
Pricing increases are nothing new when it comes to online subscriptions, but the increase — and the option to simply convert current subscriptions to Xbox Game Pass subscriptions — drew the ire of gamers on Friday. Especially the prospect of paying $120 for a year of Xbox Live Gold.
— Wario64 (@Wario64) January 22, 2021
And in a lot of ways, concerns about the increased pressure to subscript to Xbox Game Pass are legitimate. Microsoft has invested a lot of time and money into boosting the product, buying Bethesda in 2020 and adding it to Game Pass being the biggest of note. Which is why it was hard for many not to see it as a move Microsoft made in order to funnel more subscribers into Game Pass than anything of value for consumers.
Every few months, Xbox needs to do something to remind people it's not actually that in touch with gamers or reality. $120 for a year of Xbox Live Gold (to bully people onto Game Pass) is the latest example.
— Jeff Grubb (@JeffGrubb) January 22, 2021
— tdsky (@topdoog11) January 22, 2021
Xbox users gotta sell their Xbox just so they can get Xbox live gold pic.twitter.com/TIYDwg5aFp
— zay (@hruyaz) January 22, 2021
Gamers who play 1-2 games a year with Xbox Live Gold are like pic.twitter.com/dlM4sbAIC6
— Kinzie L. (@zapppz) January 22, 2021
It also made some wonder if they picked the wrong next-gen console compared to the price of PlayStation’s online access.
12 months of Xbox Live Gold: $120
12 months of PlayStation Plus: $60
Not sure what Xbox Live Gold does so much better than PlayStation Network to justify that price gap.
— Jez (@JezCorden) January 22, 2021
Comparatively speaking, Game Pass is still a great deal for gamers who want access to a lot of things and the time to play them. But those generally uninterested in all of that access but still want to play online now have to be careful how they subscribe to Xbox Live Gold, otherwise they may not be making the most economic decision out there.