In what seems like a clever ruse to get gamers to quickly buy an extra year or two of Xbox Live Gold service — which offers online multiplayer as its main draw — Microsoft announced it’s raising the annual subscription fee from $50 to $60. One-month subscriptions rise from $8 to $10 and three-month hitches go from $20 to $25. The price changes go into effect Nov. 1.
Microsoft’s Larry Hryb rationalizes the price hike on his Major Nelson Blog:
Since launching Xbox LIVE in 2002 we have continually added more content and entertainment experiences for our members, while keeping the price the same. We’re confident that when the new pricing takes effect, an Xbox LIVE Gold membership will continue to offer the best value in the industry.
Translation: “We’re raising it because we can.”
Since 2002, Microsoft has added Netflix streaming, which is free on the Wii and PS3. It’s introduced Mii-like avatars, which it uses to peddle downloadable virtual clothing to play dress-up. And it’s delivered Facebook integration, something the PS3 also offers for free.
What price do you think would be high enough to get customers to stop renewing Xbox Live Gold?