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Xbox has made a shock U-turn on its plans to increase the price of Xbox Live Gold memberships.
In a statement published at 5am GMT on Saturday (Midnight ET), the platform holder said it had “messed up” with the proposed changes, which would have seen the price of a six-month subscription increased by 50% to $60.
The changes would’ve meant that an annual Xbox Live Gold subscription would have effectively doubled in price compared to 2020 pricing.
“We messed up today and you were right to let us know,” Microsoft said. “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 statement confirmed that in the US, Xbox Live Gold will continue to cost $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for 12-months.
“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,” the statement added. “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.”
In 2019, Microsoft began bundling Gold with its Xbox Game Pass subscription service in the form of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which costs $14.99/£10.99 per month and features on demand gaming and access to EA Play.
Microsoft claimed in September 2020 that Xbox Game Pass subscribers had topped 15 million and that Xbox Live had over 100 million monthly active users. It’s likely that the Gold price increases were partly designed to persuade Gold users to upgrade to the Game Pass sub.
Alongside the Gold pricing news, Microsoft announced February’s Xbox Live Games with Gold titles.