Update 11pm: Microsoft says it will leave the price of Xbox Live Gold unchanged. Additionally, free-to-play online games will soon no longer require Xbox Live Gold.
Prepare to pay more before you can play Xbox games with other people. The price of Xbox Live Gold has just gone up.
Microsoft announced changes to the price of Xbox Live Gold earlier today on Xbox Wire. Online gaming on an Xbox now costs a $1 more per month if that’s the way you pay for it. Three months of the service is $5 more. Six months of Xbox Live Gold now costs $59.99. That’s double what a year of online gaming cost Xbox owners midnight yesterday.
Xbox Live Gold is the subscription service that you’re required to have before you can play games with other people of Xbox Live. Single-player games don’t require the subscription, but all multiplayer games do. So if you play Apex Legends or Fortnite, the cost is about to go up. That’s despite the fact that both those games are free to download to your console. (If you don’t know that “Free-to-Play” doesn’t really mean free to play at this point, consider this new knowledge a rite of passage, friends.) Don’t confuse Xbox Live Gold with Xbox Game Pass, the completely optional subscription gaming service that Microsoft also charges Xbox users for in monthly and yearly increments.
To be frank, that yearly pricing increase for Xbox Live Gold is what’s going to give Microsoft a hard time convincing users this isn’t a cash grab. Yes, online gaming requires servers, people to maintain those servers, code to run those servers, and another set of people to maintain that code. Those are facts.
Problem is, it’s easier to hear, “they’re charging you more for something you’re already getting” than it is to hear any of those facts. Also, Microsoft didn’t add new perks to justify the cost so much as it restated its commitment to the services it already offers. That is the gaming equivalent of being told by Verizon your internet will cost $10 more when your internet didn’t get $10 faster.