Mere hours after announcing a controversial doubling in price for Xbox Live Gold, Microsoft has reversed the decision and thrown in a bonus plus-up.
After hearing less than 24 hours of feedback, Microsoft has reversed course on its price hike for Xbox Live Gold and made free to play games actually free to play on Xbox consoles. Earlier in the day, Microsoft revealed its plan to double the cost of its online service, which includes access to online multiplayer, the Games With Gold library, and discounts on the online store. This was met with both outrage and cynicism, with most critics pointing out that it felt like price manipulation designed to point consumers towards Xbox Game Pass Ultimate rather than the older subscription.
Game Pass has been what Microsoft has built the Xbox branding around for the past several years. Players can access the library of games on PC and mobile phones via the cloud in addition to the various Xbox consoles, and the company has vowed to release every first-party title via the subscription going forward. Game Pass has also attracted a growing number of prominent indie games to debut on the service, which has been well received and popular among the gaming populace. Game Pass Ultimate is an all-in-one subscription that includes access to Gold, and Gold subscribers have been able to upgrade their service for very little money since Ultimate’s introduction.
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In an update to the post from this morning, Xbox backtracked on the outlined pricing changes, which would have made Gold cost $60 for six months of service rather than the year that same amount of money affords now. The company also listened to a common criticism of the service that rose back up today due to the price hike, that being that Xbox has traditionally required a Gold subscription even when playing free games online. This has been set in stone since the service’s inception, and the requirement once even stretched to video streaming services like Netflix.
As of today, that’s all changing as well. In an updated post, the Xbox team said that it’s lifting the F2P restriction in order to bring the service “more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience.” Xbox says that it will work to deliver the change to players of Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and other popular titles as soon as possible in the coming months. This will bring Xbox Live in line with every other online service on console and the PC, which has never charged for any online multiplayer… except for the one time Microsoft tried its hand at it in the late 2000s.
What a busy Friday this was for Microsoft. For the greater Xbox community and for Microsoft, this quick reversal can be considered as nothing but a huge win. It’s baffling how anyone at the company would have thought that doubling the price of a paid service without providing any further benefit would go down as anything other than a disaster, and gamers now get the added benefit of playing Fortnite for free on Microsoft’s machines at no extra cost. While Game Pass Ultimate is still probably one of the best deals for a gamer who wants a wide variety of gaming experiences, the guy or gal who just wants to log on with their friends in a single game can now rest easy and put down their wallets.
Next: Xbox Adds Gears 5 Bonus To February Games With Gold Lineup
Source: Xbox Wire
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Alex Santa Maria
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Alex Santa Maria is a writer, editor, and critic based out of the Sunshine State. Raised on a healthy diet of gaming mags at an Xbox LAN center, Alex is an enthusiast who loves shooters, roguelikes, and arcade-style games. He has an unhealthy obsession with bad movies, a love of the 1980s, and the skills to rack up a high score on your local pinball table. When not covering the latest news on Screen Rant, you may find his byline on a growing number of webzones, including GameRevolution, TechRaptor, Mandatory, and WrestleZone.
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