Following controversy surrounding their price changes, Microsoft has reversed their thinking, announcing they won’t be raising the price of Xbox Live Gold and that they’d be making changes to accessibility to free-to-play games.
In an update to their initial Xbox Wire blog post, the Xbox Live Gold Team wrote, “We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of plates who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.”
The decision to raise the prices was met with a ton of backlash on social media. While the price changes at the lower tier were incremental, at the highest tier the prices essentially doubled. With the new prices enforced, $60 USD now only covered you for half a year, instead of a whole year, meaning a year-long subscription would set you back $120 USD.
This move, likely done in order to push Game Pass Ultimate as their best offering, especially hurt the audience on Xbox that may only play free-to-play games or for whom $120 dollars a year just isn’t feasible. This reversal has thus been a boon for them, because the price change wasn’t the only one reflected in the blog post. Microsoft also announced that they’d no longer be gating the ability to play free-to-play games behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall.
“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. For free-to-play games, you will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox.”
While this change won’t be coming as immediately as the price changes they announced initially, the post did promise they’d be made “as soon as possible in the coming months.”
The reversal and the immediacy of it comes as a shock, but it’s reassuring that Xbox is listening and making their platform and its ecosystem more accessible rather than closing it off behind affordability and exorbitant prices.