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Xbox Live Gold price hike won’t happen after all, says Microsoft

Xbox Live Gold price hike won’t happen after all, says Microsoft


Josh Goldman/CNET

That Xbox Live Gold price hike you were bummed about? Turns out it’s not happening — Microsoft has changed its mind.

“We messed up today and you were right to let us know,” Microsoft said late Friday, in an update to the blog post that had announced the higher pricing for the online-gaming service. “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 now-scuttled price hike had increased subscription rates: In the US, a month of Xbox Live Gold jumped a dollar, to $11; three months went up five bucks, to $30; and six months jumped $20, to $60. The one-year subscription option had also been dropped. But that’s all a thing of the past.

“If you are an Xbox Live Gold member already, you stay at your current price for renewal,” Microsoft said in its blog update. “New and existing members can continue to enjoy Xbox Live Gold for the same prices they pay today. In the US, $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.”

The company also said you won’t need a subscription to fire up free-to-play games on Xbox.

“You will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox,” it said. “We are working hard to deliver this change as soon as possible in the coming months.”

The now-scotched pricing overhaul had seemingly been meant to push users to upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Microsoft’s top gaming subscription service, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes Xbox Live Gold, access to cloud gaming for playing games on an Android phone or tablet, and the ability to play more than 100 games on your Xbox, phone or PC. It also includes new Xbox Game Studio titles, including the upcoming Halo Infinite.

At $15 per month, a year of Game Pass Ultimate would run $180. That’s compared with the $120 you would’ve had to shell out for two six-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions under the now-canceled pricing changes.

CNET’s Eli Blumenthal contributed to this report.

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