Microsoft withdraws Xbox Live Gold price hike following uproar from users

Greg Kumparak
·2 min read

Updated at 10:26PM PT, January 22: Microsoft is backtracking on the planned price hike of Xbox Live Gold, less than 24 hours after making the announcement as the gaming giant attempts to mend its relationship with fans.

“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,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft said it is going a step further to make up with Xbox users. The company said free-to-play games on Xbox will no longer require an Xbox Live Gold subscription for online play. “We are working hard to deliver this change as soon as possible in the coming months,” the company wrote.

Our original story from earlier Friday follows.

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In what feels like an attempt at kicking some bad news under the rug on a Friday, Microsoft announced this morning that the price of Xbox Live Gold is going up.

Here's how the price changes break down:

  • The one-month plan is going from $10 per month to $11.

  • The three-month plan is going from $25 to $30.

  • The six-month plan is going from $40 to $60 — but only for new customers, says Microsoft.

"But what about the twelve-month plan? Didn't they used to offer those?"

They did! It was $60 — or the price that a six-month subscription will go for now. They stopped selling twelve-month plans back in July of last year, presumably because this change was on the horizon and they would've had to acknowledge on the price tag that 12 months of Live Gold would cost $120.

The good news: the price hike on the six-month plan only impacts new customers. If you've already got a six-month subscription (or are grandfathered into an auto-renewing twelve-month subscription), Xbox Support confirmed in a tweet that the price won't increase:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

If you're on the one-month or three-month plans, though, it sounds like you'll be paying the new price.

So why bump the cost? Microsoft doesn't officially outline their reasoning (beyond pointing out that they haven't increased the price in years, or as long as a decade in some regions), but one can assume it's at least partially to make the $15 a month Xbox Game Pass (which bundles Xbox Live Gold with a library of all-you-can-eat, on-demand titles) that much more alluring.

Manish Singh contributed to this report.