Microsoft Backtracks, Xbox Live Gold Pricing Won’t Change

Posted on January 23, 2021 by Brad Sams in Games, Xbox with 26 Comments

It was been a turbulent time for Xbox fans for the past 24 hours. Yesterday, Microsoft announced that they would be doubling the price of Xbox Live Gold and later that same day, they rolled back the announcement and are improving the value of the service.

On Friday morning, Microsoft stated that Xbox Live Gold would go from $60 a year, to $120. The price jump made a lot of fans angry, rightfully so, and everyone looked at this as a way to force Xbox customers into Game Pass Ultimate.

After a significant uproar across the web because of the change, Microsoft has announced that they are rolling back this change and are going to make other, positive, changes to the Xbox Live structure.

While the old prices are sticking, going forward, Microsoft is going to make Free to Play (F2P) titles, free…to play. What I mean is that you will no longer need Xbox Live Gold to play games like Fortnite, Destiny, COD Warzone, or Apex Legends; this is actually a sensible move.

Because of this change, this makes the Xbox Series S an even better value for those looking for a cheap way to play the game at 1080P and 60 FPS – $299 with no Gold required is a good value.

It’s still a bit shocking that this change got pushed through the Xbox org without anyone calling out that “hey it’s a pandemic and maybe doubling the price isn’t a good idea” but here we are. Thankfully, Microsoft has made the right move and in the end, gamers come out ahead.

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Comments (26)

26 responses to “Microsoft Backtracks, Xbox Live Gold Pricing Won’t Change”

  1. solomonrex

    It is weird not so much the price jump - that's dumb more than weird - but that there are any changes at all, besides completely redoing it. With multiple Game Pass products, cloud streaming and now completely free multiplayer gaming, I don't know why this product exists, other than people are already paid in.

    The effect of today's move on Fortnite and similar games is to drive users that way and skip Gold altogether, which makes the attempted price raise even weirder.

    • jamie_webster

      In reply to solomonrex:

      Guessing there's still Alot of live users they want to switch to gamepass / gpu subscriptions

      • thretosix

        In reply to Jamie_Webster:

        Not saying I'm upset about it, but I took the bait with Game Pass Ultimate when they did the price increase. Now I'm going to have to purchase the expansion card to fit the Game Pass games on my console. I was hoping to wait for a 2TB card before buying one. I guess the 1TB card will become my portable drive down the road when a friend wants to check out a new game that I've purchased without having to bring the whole console. This is assuming that friend also has a Series X. The plus to it is I'll get to check out The Medium in a few days without having to buy it, that game looks pretty cool.

    • omen_20

      In reply to solomonrex:

      My fiance only plays Fortnite any more, but her and her friends still prefer using Live for voice chat, over Epic's. She will continue to pay for it, and it's nice for her to know they can still jump into CoD zombies if the itch ever arises.

    • vladimir

      In reply to solomonrex:

      i think you forget that live is required for any online multiplayer. There are lots of people who want to play call of duty online but don’t care about gamepass. It’s dumb to try to force these people into gamepass

  2. olditpro2000

    I'm still amazed that so many companies walk themselves into these terrible situations.

  3. thretosix

    They should remove the need for Xbox Live Gold requirement for multiplayer entirely. This just makes no sense. They really aren't listening as much as they could.

  4. spiderman2

    at least MS listened to their users and backtrack, not like sony when they increased the games price by 10$

  5. thea2_

    So, what improvements are they doing for service, besides having to pay for the service in 3 or 6 month chunks?

  6. Greg Green

    xbox division does a lot of rolling back. They should incorporate that into the name.

  7. Mike_Peluso

    It won't change the ultimate (pun intended) goal of moving everyone over to game pass. They just realized they were aa bit too ham fisted with the second step of it. (The first step was getting rid of annual XBL passes, of which I would buy one every year). With 768kbps downloads and sky high latency at my house (thank you CenturyLink) online gaming was never for me, but I loved having a game library that grows over time for what amounted to $3 a month when I would buy the annual pass. I'm very sad that it's eventually going to go away and and I'll have to be charged double or triple for something I really can't use.

  8. bluvg

    Whew! A lot of times when they backtrack, it's like a high-ball offer, then they backtrack to something that wasn't the same. This is a true 180 and humble apology, which is unfortunately rare. These are the kinds of things that raise my opinion of Microsoft.

  9. brothernod

    It felt to me like they had stuff lined up and announced things out of order. Still a stupid idea.

  10. madthinus

    Once more they had to be shamed in doing what is gamer friendly. Just another example that undermines their strategy / message. Somehow one cannot but wonder about the sincerity of the it all. This is a problem.

  11. vladimir

    This all sounds so amateurish...

  12. dad0118

    And people wonder why Sony dominates this space.... horrible egg on their face.

    • spiderman2

      In reply to dad0118:

      You mean the one that increased games prices by 10$ ?

    • vladimir

      In reply to dad0118:

      sony does well due to the games available only on their platform and the excellent marketing strategy surrounding it. People think Sony owns Spider-Man, just to give an example

      • thretosix

        In reply to Vladimir:

        I'd say their marketing is the key factor. Microsoft does have some great first party titles, it's looking to grow as well. Time will tell if they are doing enough. Spider-Man and a remake of Dark Souls exclusives are hardly a reason to choose Sony over Microsoft. Sony has a great spin game going on. They pretty much dictate what is best for console consumers at the moment, Microsoft just seems to sit idle and take the beating. Sony is the Bully of the console wars, a war Microsoft pretends isn't there and why they are beaten consistently.

      • b6gd

        In reply to Vladimir:

        I have never understood the deal about the Spider Man game. Sure if your a Spider Man fan, but too me Spider man is a second class super hero and a whole game about him....I would get bored pretty quick.

        Yes Sony has had better exclusives but personally only MLB the Show has ever been the one I wanted. God of War....meh. Ratchet and Clank...again meh. It seems all of their exclusives are third person games, wrapped with a different mod. Not that I think Xbox has great exclusives either. I played Halo...yeah ok and Gears has always been boring to me. I do think Forza Horizon is the best racing game but I am not super into racing games, but Forza is really good. 99% of my gaming is on multi-plat's.

        Now with Microsoft picking up Bethesda, that to me is a game changer. I have played lots of their games/ID as well and if they are exclusives to Xbox/PC that is going to be huge.

        • omen_20

          In reply to b6gd:

          Maybe you're young and your perception is based off of the Marvel movies getting Spider-Man late, but he has long been Marvel's most popular character.

          It would be the same as questioning the validity of the Arkham games.

      • jamie_webster

        In reply to Vladimir:

        They have his movie license am betting the spiderman game exclusivity was part of the movie sharing deal they currently have

    • Paul Thurrott

      Yes. People really do wonder why Sony does so well. :)
      • omen_20

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Games. Sony keeps reinventing itself with new franchises. Xbox banked on Halo and stopped. Nintendo didn't just stop at Mario. Truth is Xbox would have failed years ago had it not been bank rolled by a major tech company. Had Microsoft spun out the brand like they thought about, last gen would have put it on its knees.

        All that said, I was very bullish on PlayStation when everyone was counting Sony out with the PS3 launch. Now coming off the PS4 success, I'm bearish. I think they have a chance of sticking around, but Game Pass and Azure is Xbox's real advantage, even before buying more exclusives. Sony will always be beholden to a cloud company which will be competing with them.

        What are the chances Sony's service gets an Azure upgrade before Xbox does? To be honest, I think it's reason for Xbox to be broken up from Microsoft. If people find it unethical for Comcast to own and operate NBC/Peacock, then how is Azure and Xbox streaming any different (or AWS and Prime Video for that matter)?

        • thretosix

          In reply to Omen_20:

          I tend to disagree with the perspective of them banking on Halo and stopped. It's just people who buy into a platform tend to have blinders on to the other platform. If someone has a Sony they aren't looking into what is going on with Microsoft, in general. The Forza Horizon / Motorsport series is pretty huge and has a big community. I'm not into the Gears games but a lot of people seem to be. Sony has done better in this department, I'm not trying to argue that point. But I myself tend to have blinders on to Sony games. What point do I have in paying attention to what they have that is exclusive if I'm just going to play on my Xbox anyways. Sony just has a lot bigger player base. It's apparent in how many more consoles they sell. I just feel that there are more blinders to Microsoft first party games because of this. It's just opinion really, and there are going to be a lot more Sony Playstation opinions than Microsoft Xbox opinions.

  13. Awhispersecho

    It's a bad idea regardless of whether there is a pandemic or not.