So I guess Microsoft, and Xbox have decided to bring the live gold prices to a whole new level.
What this means is the cost of gaming on Xbox goes up. Free games, such as Fortnite will require you to pay to play on this service, at an even higher rate. This itself is a serious issue that will drive people away.
For the past year Xbox has worked hard to foster good-will after the debacle known as the Xbox One. And this change could in fact, wash away all that good-will that they have in fact, earned. Twitter is already a buzz with hate for this new change. Rightfully so. I am in full agreement with this as an Xbox gamer this looks like an attack on people still using Xbox Live Gold, as this pricing is closer to that of Gamepass, and that makes the Xbox Gamepass Ultimate subscription even more of a deal. Thus driving the Gamepass service.
This is truly an interesting development from Xbox, on top of that, today, none of the higher-up people from Xbox, like Phil Spencer, (@XBoxP3) have spoken out on twitter to defend this change. It would seem they are avoiding the discussion while they come to terms with what they have just done, which is screw over the gamers and the new love the platform has been receiving.
In recent months there has been rumour that Xbox Live Gold would be removed in favour of gamepass, it would seem this rumour has been squashed. Xbox appears to of kicked themselves in the proverbial dick today.
Xbox needs to move beyond the pay-to-play online mentality, they want to improve the network capability, which is why we pay for the ‘online’ capability. But this is 2021, gaming on PC, is free, even when I am playing video games on my Xbox Series X, I am using discord on my PC to voice chat with people. I don’t put myself through the Xbox network. I understand financially the reason for the costs, however the pay to play / use online features is a kick in the dick in 2021. They should of found a new way to monetize their network by now. This is a clear sign that they are not thinking outside the box when it comes to furthering their network, which is sad.
As you can see, the Xbox dashboard contains advertisements for products (namely the elite series 2 controller in this picture). They profit from every digital sale, every subscription, this is an interesting mechanism for growth, as they are monetizing their console, advertising their own store, and all products sold through it. This alone should be more than enough profit for them to keep their network running, and running well.
And when I say subscriptions, I am not referring to gold, but to gamepass, ea access, and gamepass ultimate. Gold subscriptions themselves seem at this point in time, out of place. The network touts a very profitable source of income for Microsoft.
As a consumer, this appears to simply be greed and an attack on the gamers who utilize their plastic boxes. But from the Xbox/Microsoft business perspective, this probably covers the cost of inflation as it has been years upon years since they increased the rate. However, increasing the rate during a global pandemic almost seems counter intuitive as people are out of work as is. This makes it incredibly difficult for people to prioritize gaming over anything else, and with the increase, means less people will utilize this service.
Whatever the case may be for Microsoft to increase the rate, only time will tell if this has a long standing negative impact on the bottom line of Xbox’s profit margins. Only time will tell, but my bet is that this was done to drive sales of Gamepass Ultimate, and I am sticking to that. Prove me wrong Xbox, do something with this additional cost, make it public, tell us what the true driving matter behind this decision was.