Microsoft backtracks on Xbox Live Gold price hike, also makes policy change for free to play games

Update: Well, who says good can’t come out of bad. Microsoft has not only decided to no longer enact a price hike for Xbox Live Gold, but the company is going one step further to change the service so that free to play (F2P) games no longer require a Gold subscription.

“We messed up today and you were right to let us know,” reads an update to the official news story from earlier. “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.”

The update continues, “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.”

The price for Xbox Live Gold in the US will continue to be $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.

Original Story: Microsoft has announced a sizable price increase for its Xbox Live Gold online subscription service, but if you are an existing subscriber, you can keep your current subscription plan.

Starting in March, 1-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions will cost $9.99, 3-month subscriptions will cost $29.99, and 6-month subscriptions will cost $59.99. Microsoft eliminated new 12-month subscriptions not too long ago.

It’s important to note that this only applies to new or returning subscribers. Xbox states that if “you’re an existing online 12-month or 6-month Xbox Live Gold member, there’s no price change. If you choose to renew your membership, it will renew at your current price.”

Clearly, this is a push to get more players to switch over to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes a subscription to Xbox Live Gold and to Game Pass in one package, considering Game Pass Ultimate is $14.99—$5 more than the new monthly Gold subscription price.

However, if you do make the switch to Game Pass Ultimate, “your remaining Gold time will also convert directly to Ultimate” for up to 36 months of a pre-paid Gold subscription. In other words, if your Xbox Live Gold subscription is already paid for through the next three years, converting to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate right now will bank you three years of the service at no additional cost.

The announcement about these price hikes—the first in many years for Xbox Live Gold—have not gone down particularly well with gamers. “Xbox Live Gold” is currently trending on social media, with many players and supposed subscribers complaining about the increase while failing to mention the fact that they can keep their current subscription price.

However, one point that does keep coming up that Microsoft has yet to address is if its policy towards free-to-play games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, and Apex Legends will change. Sony and Nintendo do not require players to have an online subscription to play free-to-play games online on their platforms; Microsoft is the outlier with Xbox.

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