Microsoft recently made the announcement that they would be increasing the prices of Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, the online service that’s required to play games online on Xbox consoles. By and large, the price increases announced were pretty steep. Though the monthly subscription price only went up $1 (which would still have added up to a healthy amount in the long run), the three month subscription saw a $5 increase, while the six month subscription saw a 50% increase, climbing to $60.
The changes have been met with widespread backlash and criticism, and Microsoft have now responded to that backlash the way you’d want them to. In an update on Xbox Wire, they have confirmed that they are reversing the price increases, and that you can still expect to purchase Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at their previous prices- $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, and $39.99 for 6-months.
“We messed up today and you were right to let us know,” the update reads. “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.”
In fact, it seems Microsoft are almost going in the opposite direction in what’s a rather sudden about-turn. Having to pay Xbox Live Gold subscriptions even to play free-to-play games has always been something that Microsoft have received plenty of criticism for, but that will no longer be the case going forward. If you want to play a free-to-play game online, you will no longer need a Gold subscription.
“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,” Microsoft writes. “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.”
Halfway through last year, reports emerged that suggested Microsoft were considering discontinuing Xbox Live Gold altogether and making console online gaming free. Soon afterward, Microsoft responded to those reports, saying no such changes were planned.