Bad news for Xbox Live Gold users, and that is Microsoft has announced what the price of the service will increase in certain countries, among which some sources include Spain. And although we still do not know the final amount of the increase in euros, since Microsoft’s communications in this regard have only talked about dollars, it is most likely that in this change the increase will be similar, based on the euro-dollar parity that, manufacturers sometimes apply.
So, the monthly cost of the Xbox Live Gold subscription will be 10.99 euros, 29.99 euros for the quarterly subscription and 59.99 euros for the six-month subscription. This increase is added to the disappearance of the annual subscription that, remember, until it was no longer available through Microsoft, it had the price that now has the semester, that is, 59.99 euros. In other words, and for all those users who contract Xbox Live Gold from year to year, the price of the service has doubled.
With this movement, Xbox Live Gold has the highest price of subscription services to play online from the console. Remember that PS Plus is priced at 8.99 euros per month, 24.99 euros in quarterly payment and 59.99 euros for the annual subscription. And if we talk about Nintendo the difference is even greater, since its online service has a cost of 3.99 euros per month, 7.99 euros in quarterly payment and 19.99 euros for the annual plan. Or, with the family plan, which gives access to the service to up to eight user accounts, the annual cost is 34.99 euros.
To put it in perspective, with the future cost of one year of access to Xbox Live Gold, around 120 euros, a PS Plus user would have access for two years, and a Nintendo user would have a budget for six years of connection. A difference too great not to attract attention and that, therefore, we wonder why the reasons that Microsoft may have decided to adopt these new prices.
Why is Microsoft raising the price of Xbox Live Gold?
The official explanation is «Periodically, we evaluate the value and price of our services to reflect changes in regional markets and to continue investing in the Xbox community.«. However, it is rare that the conclusion of a periodic review results in the price of a service multiplying by two in a year. Unless periodically it means ‘from decade to decade’, such a rise, added to the elimination of the annual subscription, points to other reasons, and in this case the real one seems more than evident. It’s called Xbox Game Pass.
With Xbox Live Gold for five euros per month, which is what the annual subscription for 59.99 euros offered, users of the service had a moderately priced option with which you can access the titles of the month and, above all, play online. However, if its price is multiplied by two, so that the most economical option is the quarterly and semi-annual subscriptions, which offer the service for 10 euros per month, the 12.99 euros per month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate pose a more sensible option.
And, let’s not forget, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes, for that monthly fee, access to all the games included in Xbox Game Pass for both PC and Xbox, EA Play (a selection of EA games), the platform xCloud cloud gaming and, of course, Xbox Live Gold. By bringing the prices of both subscriptions closer together, it is clear that Microsoft’s intention is to force Live Gold users to make the leap to Game Pass.
It is, of course, a legitimate aspiration, but I personally think that it has not been managed in the best possible way. Xbox Game Pass is, according to the numbers we have been able to see, a great success, but that does not mean that all users are interested in the subscription model or, at least, not for its current price. Raising the price of Xbox Live Gold to “push” users to make the jump to Game Pass can have a rather negative effect, and this happens when many players are still waiting for the stock of Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 to be replenished without being clear about your choice, can affect this purchase decision.
I believe, and have thought for a long time, that Xbox Game Pass is one of Microsoft’s boldest moves, and I reinforce it by saying that I have been a user of the service since it debuted on PC. However, and given that the growth experienced by the number of users who have signed up for the service naturally, I do not think it was necessary to take measures like this, which in the end could lead to a certain increase in the total number of users of the service, but that a good part of them will do it forced, and many others will feel so annoyed with this change that they will surely choose not to contract Game Pass or renew Xbox Live Gold.