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Microsoft No Longer Increasing Price of Xbox Live Gold, Free-to-Play Games No Longer Require Gold

Microsoft No Longer Increasing Price of Xbox Live Gold, Free-to-Play Games No Longer Require Gold - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 February 2021 / 3,370 Views

Microsoft announced on Friday it was increasing the price of Xbox Live Gold and there was a huge backlash from gamers about the increase in price. 

The Xbox team has provided an update and announced they will no longer be increasing the price of Xbox Live Gold and will now be making free-to-play games no longer require an Xbox Live Gold membership. 

"We messed up today and you were right to let us know," said the Xbox Live Gold team. "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.

Microsoft No Longer Increasing Price of Xbox Live Gold, Free-to-Play Games No Longer Require Gold

"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."


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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67 Comments
ironmanDX (on 23 January 2021)

Not even M. Night shyamilan would have seen this twist coming.

  • +17
Signalstar (on 23 January 2021)

Twirls Mustache And we would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those lousy gamers and their stupid internet forums!

  • +13
VAMatt (on 23 January 2021)

That's a quick turnaround. Almost like they had it planned out this way.

  • +11
Mr Puggsly VAMatt (on 23 January 2021)

Yeah, certainly seems that way.

  • +8
VAMatt VAMatt (on 23 January 2021)

I feel like someone must have said "Let's float this out there and see what happens."

  • +7
Ka-pi96 (on 23 January 2021)

WTF? They only announced the price hike this morning and they're already backpedalling by the evening? That's gotta be some kind of record or something :D

  • +11
FloatingWaffles (on 23 January 2021)

sucks that it took them seeing this backlash to finally realize to change the F2P thing, sours what should have been a good thing into a thing that feels like they probably only did because people reacted badly. glad they listened tho.

  • +9
Shiken (on 23 January 2021)

Good move, sounds like they found the guy who came up with the idea and smacked him across the head. Glad people were loud about it.

  • +7
SanAndreasX Shiken (on 23 January 2021)

It's far more likely Microsoft as a whole wanted a price increase to cover rising costs and were shocked when the idea (predictably to everyone else) went over like a lead balloon.

  • +2
Pemalite SanAndreasX (on 24 January 2021)

I mean... They have increased the price of Gold before and people got over it I think.

  • 0
SanAndreasX Pemalite (on 24 January 2021)

Yeah, but not that steeply. They should have done it more gradually. Either that, or maybe they'll propose a smaller increase that will seem reasonable. Pretty sure there's pressure from shareholders to get more of a ROI on Xbox in any case.

  • 0
Azzanation (on 23 January 2021)

Until next time on Console Industry Warfare! Would MS continue to play the nice guy, or would Sony jump in and change the rules? and who knows what Nintendo is doing. To be continued.

  • +6
trunkswd Azzanation (on 23 January 2021)

Even if Nintendo increases the price of Switch Online it wouldn't seem as bad as it is only $20/year right now.

  • +2
Azzanation trunkswd (on 23 January 2021)
  • -5
AFattyGamer trunkswd (on 23 January 2021)

The Switch's online infrastructure is barebones as a mafuka though. I just use my Switch for the Single Player experiences. $20 a year to spend for Nintendo's online seems pointless from my experience with it.

  • +11
Jranation AFattyGamer (on 23 January 2021)

Cloud save is pretty good if you are worried about loosing your data.

  • -3
COKTOE Jranation (on 23 January 2021)

Unlike the Switch, the other systems allow for local save backup to external devices in addition to sever backup. Cloud saves are a nice option, but you shouldn't be forced into a subscription service to be able to backup save data.

  • +8
Jranation COKTOE (on 23 January 2021)

Im talking about what one of the benefits of paying $20 a year.

  • -4
Darwinianevolution Jranation (on 23 January 2021)

It still wouldn't be good, considering some of the most important selling points of the Switch Online service were free not too long ago.

  • +5
Jranation Darwinianevolution (on 28 January 2021)

It was free temporarily. They did say before the Switch launch that a paid service will be launching. No one should be surprised it wasn't going to be free.

  • 0
Darwinianevolution Jranation (on 28 January 2021)

When I said "not too long ago", I meant last gen. The WiiU had free online and the opion to backup saved games, and so did the 3DS. It's really bad optics when your newest hardware needs a fee to do the same your previous machines did for free.

  • 0
Azzanation Darwinianevolution (on 28 January 2021)

Same can be said for the PS4 and PS5. It was all free on the PS1, PS2, PS3 and now you need a fee to access the same features offered gens ago.

  • +1
Bandorr Jranation (on 23 January 2021)

Cloud save is weak. There is no way to save you stuff. So you have to pay for the option that doesn't cover all games.

  • +4
COKTOE Bandorr (on 23 January 2021)

Oh yeah. I forgot there are games that cannot be backed up at all. It's so weird. I think I remember reading part of the reasoning behind not allowing local backups was to help....curb cheating? Not sure if that's the case, or whether it's been effective in achieving that goal if true.

  • +2
COKTOE Jranation (on 27 January 2021)

Just found out that as of now, the PS5 also does not allow game saves to be copied to USB.....And neither does the Series X OR the XBO. Xbox has free cloud saves with XBL Silver though. At least they did with the One.....I hope the situation with PS is temporary, and it will be patched in later, but wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't.

  • +1
Azzanation AFattyGamer (on 23 January 2021)

Its why its only $20 a year, its peanuts and grants you access to play Multiplayer. It costs more than 3 times that amount a year to unlock Multiplayer on other platforms.

  • 0
SanAndreasX AFattyGamer (on 24 January 2021)

The only online games I play are Smash, Mario Kart, and the online components of games like Pokemon. It works out for me, at least. Otherwise I'm about the SP experience on both Switch and PlayStation.

  • 0
Pemalite trunkswd (on 23 January 2021)

Nintendo doesn't offer nearly as much for its service either though..

  • +4
Podings (on 23 January 2021)

Such cluelessness coupled with such spinelessness.
Reminds me of the Kinect/Xbone launch fiasco.

  • +5
SanAndreasX Podings (on 23 January 2021)
  • -5
Mr Puggsly (on 23 January 2021)

I think MS is trolling. Get people angry about a price increase, then decide not to do it and then fix the F2P thing people always complained about. I guess that's a way to get attention and show you're listening to users.

  • +5
2zosteven Mr Puggsly (on 25 January 2021)

That's pretty deep

  • +1
Ryotsu (on 23 January 2021)

Good commercial strategy by microsoft, first it scares its users by raising the price and then changes its mind to look good

  • +5
DirtyP2002 (on 23 January 2021)

They really need to pay me truck loads of cash, so I can work as a consultant for them.

Anyway, this just shows that Xbox with Phil is oh so different from Xbox with Don.

  • +5
eva01beserk DirtyP2002 (on 23 January 2021)

How so? They both made stupid decisions and they both backtracked after backlash. It would be different if one of them dint make supid decisions.

I dont think it matters who is in charge. Its a corporation. Share holders will always dictate whats decided.

  • -1
AsGryffynn eva01beserk (on 23 January 2021)

They literally stuck to their guns until Mattrick was booted. Here, they read the Twitter comments, went "ok, who came up with that idea?", found the guy and gave him a smack to the back of the head with a fly swatter.

  • 0
eva01beserk AsGryffynn (on 23 January 2021)

The guy who came up with it? You do know there are retailers saying they have the new cards on hand right? as in this was discussed by the executives and all approved. this was long in the making. people must be delusional to think this dint pass by spencers hands.

  • +5
SanAndreasX DirtyP2002 (on 23 January 2021)

Not really, Phil is just better at PR speak.

  • -4
vonny DirtyP2002 (on 23 January 2021)

I love how people think Phil had nothing to do with this, as if it was some unruly intern making this decision.

  • 0
KratosLives (on 23 January 2021)

Some stupidity right there

  • +4
The Fury (on 24 January 2021)

What a back-pedal.

  • +3
AFattyGamer (on 23 January 2021)

Or Microsoft ... Just make your online free. You don't make your PC players pay for Live which was a very wise decision on your part ... do the same for your console fanbase. It would force Sony's hand to do the same or lower the price of the PS Plus dramatically. Microsoft is single handedly responsible that we gamers have to pay a console online subscription for multiplayer in the 1st place. Would give Microsoft a lot of goodwill and give Sony some pressure. Wishing upon a star of course but that's my two cents.

  • +3
SanAndreasX AFattyGamer (on 24 January 2021)

Most of the money Microsoft makes on the Xbox line is on Gold subscriptions. They don’t make a lot of money on the systems themselves. Without that subscription money they’d have a much harder time justifying the Xbox to shareholders.

  • +1
JRPGfan (on 24 January 2021)

They still removed the 1year option right? so its a stealth increase (in price pr year)?

  • +1
Shiken JRPGfan (on 24 January 2021)

No you can still buy a yearly sub for 60 USD from the official website, as well as a 60 dollar card from a retailer. The option was removed from the console storefront, but the 60 dollar option is still available.

Not that I agree with it, seems a bit misleading. But as of now, no actual price increase has taken place.

  • 0
NathanSSSS (on 23 January 2021)

Looks like a scripted marketing move to me, what MS expect? by doubling the price that is long fixed for a necessarily "bundled" service, I would really doubt if MS didn't see the overwhelming criticize coming from public, unless they wanted to be put in a redemption play.

  • +1
AkimboCurly (on 23 January 2021)

Clearly they wanted to increase the Gold price while keeping Game Pass the same price. Hoping therefore to squeeze Gold users onto Game Pass.

  • +1
COKTOE (on 23 January 2021)

It ended well for X-Box customers, with not only an immediate return to the long-standing price of XBLG, but also an improvement to the service with the removal of F2P sub requirements, but the attempt at fuckery was still made.

The timing of the move, in addition to the aggressiveness of the price hike, was breathtakingly stupid, given the position XBox has been in for close to a decade, and the steps they have taking to improve their standing recently. However, that a move like this was made, independent of it's timing, is not surprising in the least. Unless this was a Machiavellian ploy to attract attention to the brand, I question whether the collective heads of XB/MS are in the place I thought they were. Which is to say, being able to play the short/medium game well enough to enable a grotesque future where power plays like this will be more difficult to effectively rail against.

  • +1
Bizwas (on 25 January 2021)

It is easy to see what they wanted - incentivize people to go for GP Ultimate. It is easy to see why they backpedaled so quickly - after seeing the reactions. What I don't understand is that they deemed it worth the try. As mentioned here by others, this is not some sudden overnight development or some intern pressing the wrong button, this was a conscious decision on the executive level. I don't get it - exactly because, as many state here, they are a company who wants to make money. This move hurts their trustworthiness, hurts their brand, and thus has a negative impact on their ability to make money, so why would they do that? They have worked really hard on building their "gamers first" narrative over the course of the last years and now they have completely cast doubt on that. Because when you ask yourself: could that decision to double the price of Gold have been made if the gamer was at the center of their considerations? If their mission was to enable people to "play the games that they want to play on the devices they want to play on with the people they want to play with"? And the answer is no. No way. And then you have to say, if they apparently don't act upon that maxim, then you cannot be sure what else they might come up with in the future. And that those highly paid individuals who made that decision would want to risk this sentiment arising in their customers I find baffling (regardless of whether it was due to pressure from shareholders for a quick raise of revenue or because of some sort of twisted plot where they should have wanted to be perceived as the company who listens, as suggested in comments here; I rule out the explanation that they are pure evil, they would have plenty of other means to act out on that). Really the only explanation I can find is that we are looking at a case of mere, good old fashioned incompetence.

  • 0
foodfather (on 23 January 2021)
  • -7
Runa216 (on 23 January 2021)
  • -14