On Friday, Microsoft announced that it will be increasing the price of Xbox Live across the board, seemingly in an attempt to force players to sign up for Xbox Game Pass and its various options. However, after immense outrage from gamers, Microsoft has opted not to increase the price of its subscription service.
In an update on the original post outlining the price change, Microsoft wrote the company had “messed up” and “had failed to live up to the expectations of players who count on it [Xbox Live] every day.” The updated post also says the company will be using this as an opportunity to “see the player at the center of their experience.”
Additionally, free-to-play games – such as Call of Duty: Warzone and others – will no longer require an Xbox Live Gold Membership in order to play, joining other platforms. Though this change will not be immediate, Microsoft plans to implement this in the coming months.
Microsoft also announced there will be no new changes in any of the subscription options. As such, players can get a one-month, three-month, six-month or 12-month subscription of Xbox Live Gold for $9.99, $24.99, $39.99 and $59.99 USD, respectively.
Prior to the reversal decision, Microsoft had announced that different Xbox Live subscriptions were getting a price hike. When news of the supposed changes broke online, gamers shared their incredible dissatisfaction with the changes, with many taking to Twitter to make their voice heard.
To that end, Phil Spencer – the executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft – posted a tweet, apologizing for the “angst and emotion” the incoming changes caused.
While introducing a price hike is never going to go over well with fans, to do it during a pandemic is extremely ambitious, to say the least. Perhaps the initial decision to raise prices may have come from the fact that Microsoft was attempting to persuade players to switch over to an Xbox Game Pass subscription.
Currently, consumers can get an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription for $14.99 USD a month, which includes over 100 games from multiple developers as well as Xbox Live Gold — valued at $9.99 by itself. There are also separate plans for PC and console players available at a slightly cheaper price.
In all, though the initial move by Microsoft to increase the prices was not the most sound – especially now – the fact that Microsoft listened to its gamers and changed its course rather quickly is a great example of a company listening to its fans. There needs to be more of that in the video game industry and good on Microsoft for listening.