Microsoft just announced that it will be raising the price of Xbox Live Gold, the company's subscription-based online service that grants access to most online multiplayer titles and a range of "free" monthly games.
The price of a one-month Gold membership is set to go up by $1-a-month, to $10.99. Three-month membership will increase by $5 a month to $29.99, while the six-month membership option rises by $20 to $59.99, or the local market equivalent. At the time of writing, Microsoft has yet to confirm the changes in pounds.
Critics were quick to point out that the USD price for a year's subscription to Xbox Live Gold has now doubled from last year. Microsoft stopped offering $60 12-month Gold subscriptions in 2020. Two consecutive six-month subscriptions in 2021 will set you back nearly $120.
Microsoft is currently sending out messages informing customers of the price hike now. The company assures subscribers that the inflated pricing won't come into effect until at least 45 days after you receive the message.
"Periodically, we assess the value and pricing of our services to reflect changes in regional marketplaces and to continue to invest in the Xbox community," Microsoft explained of the decision.
"We'll be making price adjustments for Xbox Live Gold in select markets. In many markets, the price of Xbox Live Gold has not changed for years and in some markets, it hasn't changed for over 10 years. If you're an existing online 12-month or 6-month Xbox Live Gold member, there's no price change. If you choose to renew your membership, it will renew at the current price."
Xbox Live Gold remains a requirement to play many of the most popular online games right now, including Fortnite and Call Of Duty: Warzone. A PlayStation Plus subscription is not required to access either game on PS4 or PS5, while Nintendo Switch owners can also enjoy Fortnite without having to pay for a Switch Online membership.
In 2019 Microsoft started including Gold with Xbox Game Pass subscriptions via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a service which costs $14.99/£10.99. It's been speculated that this latest Gold price increase is a way for Microsoft to encourage users who haven't already to upgrade to the Ultimate service. As it currently stands, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offers a lot more than a standard Xbox Live Gold subscription in exchange for a slightly increased monthly fee.
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