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Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled a price hike to Xbox Live Gold, the platform's subscription-based online service that offers access to online multiplayer games and a handful of extra games every month. Less than 18 hours afterwards, Microsoft rolled back on this choice, and explained that it had "messed up."
The majority would agree with the company on that front. The price of a one-month Gold membership was going to increase by $1 to $10.99, a three-month membership would increase by $5 to $29.99, and lastly, the six-month membership option would increase by $20 to $59.99. As a result, if you wanted a whole year of Xbox Live Gold, you'd pay about $120. Contrast this with other platforms: playing Fortnite costs the player nothing on Switch, PC, and PlayStation because it's a free-to-play title, but with these new prices, playing Fortnite would cost someone a significant chunk of money on the Xbox due to the requirement for a membership.
"Ridiculous" is the right word for it, closely followed by "odd," then "short-sighted" for good measure. A lot of people were irritated when they heard about the price hike to Xbox Live Gold, and the prevailing theory was that Microsoft wanted its current Gold customers to jump to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which bundles Gold with Game Pass. Overall, it wasn't a good look for the company, and gamers pointed out that the increases might not have been necessary owing to the profits made with the launch of the Xbox Series X and Series S. To give them their due, Microsoft swiftly took stock of the situation and brought the prices back down again, with an apology for their actions.
"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," said Microsoft in a post to Xbox Wire. "We're turning this moment into an opportunity to bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center 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."
Those who have an active Xbox Live Gold membership will continue at their current price for their next renewal, and new customers will also see these same prices for whichever option they choose. Also, it's cheering to know that free-to-play titles like Apex Legends, Warframe, and Warzone will be available for every Xbox player, so that the communities will welcome some fresh faces in the future.
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