Microsoft Raises the Price of Xbox Live Gold

Posted on January 22, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox with 16 Comments

We thought that Microsoft was moving to end the Xbox Live Gold subscription. Instead, the software giant is raising the price of the service.

“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,” a post credited to the Xbox Live Gold Team explains. “We’ll be making price adjustments for Xbox Live Gold in select markets.”

The United States is one of those select markets, though it’s worth pointing out that Microsoft isn’t raising prices on existing 6- and 12-month subscriptions, at least for now: When you renew the next time, you will pay the same price as before.

But the new pricing going forward is more expensive. A 1-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold now costs $10.99, up from $9.99. A 3-month subscription now costs $29.99, up from $24.99. A 6-month subscription now costs $59.99, up from $39.99. And while Microsoft doesn’t address this explicitly, I don’t believe they offer new 12-month subscriptions anymore.

Finally, those interested in upgrading from an Xbox Live Gold subscription to an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription will get a lot of value out of doing so, since each month of the former will be converted into a month of access to the latter. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate normally costs $14.99 per month.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Microsoft Raises the Price of Xbox Live Gold”

  1. yoshi

    Xbox Execs: Guys, we've been doing too much right lately and not giving people enough fuel to talk smack about us. How can we solve this?

    Xbox Employee: I've come up with the perfect solution! We double the yearly rate of Xbox Live Gold!

    Xbox Execs: Give this guy a raise!

  2. skyczy08

    I second what Yoshi said.

    Although i wish they would get rid of all these service streams and combine into one. Xbox Live Gold, Ultimate... At this pint id rather mod my console and download games. THAT is likely an easier less complicated method of playing games at this point.

    Remember when playing games was supposed to be simple?

  3. LT1 Z51

    So basically thre is no discount for 6 month anymore (it's actually .01 cents more expensive) and the 3 month (and by extension 6 month) only saves $1 a month (and $.02 every three months). Why not just say it's $10 a month. And that you are billed monthly and leave it at that.

  4. Calibr21

    This will really hurt Xbox adoption by casual gamers. I have a friend who plays primarily APEX legends and FIFA. It’s impossible to recommend Xbox over PlayStation now.

    xbox will cost him $120 a year to play APEX.

    PlayStation will cost $0 (free to play games don’t require psplus for multiplayer)

  5. sherlockholmes

    And that in a time of crisis. Nicely done, Microsoft.

  6. Slvrgun

    First the move of the search box in this foolishness.


  7. mattbg

    I wonder if this is more about making Game Pass Ultimate seem more attractive than anything else.

  8. maddycom

    Not sure if this is good or bad because most xbox gamers already have ultimate GP or at least live gold on renew already, is this targeting the new few lucky persons who got a new Xbox with no existing pass.

  9. thretosix

    This morning after reading about this, I bought a couple 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions to top out to 3 years worth. Then I upgraded to Game Pass Ultimate for $1 which gave me an additional 2 months of Game Pass Ultimate. My subscription now says that I'm a Game Pass Ultimate subscriber and my next charge my credit card of $14.99/month and it won't happen until 3/21/24.

    According to Microsoft this is how it works:

    "When signing up for Game Pass Ultimate from Microsoft: Joining Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will upgrade your remaining Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass for Console or Xbox Game Pass for PC time into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for the same amount of time, up to 36 months. All conversions are final."

    "After you join Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can continue to redeem Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass codes. These codes will automatically convert to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate based on the following conversion table. Conversion ratio subject to change." This seems to say if you are already a Game Pass subscriber, the prepaid cards are tokens that convert at a different rate."

    There is a chart on Microsoft's Xbox site that lists the conversion afterwards and it essentially tops out at 12 months of Xbox Live Gold converts to 4 months of Game Pass Ultimate which at that point you may as well just subscribe.

  10. cchubbuck

    The big issue with this price increase is that Microsoft is the only vendor that requires at least XLG for free to play games.

    I'm one of these folks that use Xbox to play 1-2 games online...being a busy parent. My renewal was coming up in a month...I've now set it to NOT auto renew, even though I can still get old price (I think).

    I know that GPU is a MUCH better deal...I get it, but at this point...I simply cannot play all those games...or even 2 when everything I do now is F2P.

    Dick move Microsoft.

  11. PanamaVet

    When they told me I had to buy an XBOX gold subscription in order to enjoy my Zune music subscription on my XBOX 360 I boxed it up and put it in storage.

    Fool me once, shame on them.

  12. Elan Gabriel

    They can do what they want, but I do hope they will get lots of bad PR because of that, and migration/adoption of PS from casual users. Also, to do this only after XSS/X launch is a cowardly act and I have no respect for that.

  13. tdemerse

    I wonder, will the conversion table get updated to reflect the new cost?

  14. rug

    I would like to see the auto renewal better explained. If I get a one month card, then set to auto renew, I’m assuming it would be $60/yr. The cards are like buying it a la carte.

    Regardless, this seems like a PR nightmare. I’ve seen so few positive comments. The majority are mostly negative, hate filled comments. I feel this might cause an unfixable exodus. :(

  15. stmorr82zw5zml

    Paul, the original Xbox news post was updated as follows, which I guess now makes Xbox Live Gold less valuable, but at the same price point:

    [UPDATED on 1/22/2021 at 8:52 PM PT]

    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. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.

    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.

    If you are an Xbox Live Gold member already, you stay at your current price for renewal. New and existing members can continue to enjoy Xbox Live Gold for the same prices they pay today. In the US, $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.

  16. coltigore

    Not going to lie, before this got reversed, I came very close to giving up on getting a Series X and starting to try to get a PS5. Next step is to make online play Free and let people sub to Game Pass (¬_¬ )