2020 was a big year for Microsoft’s online gaming business as it put in a lot of time and effort to build up goodwill for its next-gen consoles and especially their Xbox Game Pass service. However, the recently announced Xbox Live Gold price hike seems to put all those efforts at the risk of being made redundant. Despite being boosts in its gaming revenue last year Microsoft made some inexplicable changes to its pricing. The bottom line of the changes is that it is moving from $60 a year to $120 for most people which is a big jump considering most people are going through some sort of financial distress because of the global healthcare crisis.
The anger of Xbox fans is understandable since Microsoft is the only platform that is forcing gamers to pay a subscription fee for access to multiplayer of Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, and other popular free-to-play games. Since the majority of them used to buy codes to top up their Xbox live subscription, the annual fee has now almost doubled for them.
Microsoft removed the 12-month codes last year that was priced at $59.99. Now, the six-month code is priced at $59.99. So, the 12-month codes have been officially discontinued by them even though one might buy them from retailers and resellers. One can truly grasp the implication of this change by looking at Fortnite. One can play it free-of-cost on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch but many Fortnite players will have to pay $120 every year just to play the game on an Xbox console.
The price hike is outrageous but Microsoft has been very lenient when it comes to its communication with the community. They have made no attempts to even justify doubling prices. Xbox Game Pass became very popular and was widely praised last year. Microsoft managed to entice 15million people onto Xbox Game Pass by September 2020. However, it seems that now Microsoft is looking to earn more revenue from Xbox users in the future once they get them hooked to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is without a doubt a killer deal with access to over 100 games but Microsoft was too quick to bring these new changes. The communication and timing were terrible. Most of the time customers are confused about which console they should go for between PS5 or an Xbox. With the new changes, most consumers might have gone with the latter. However, as Microsoft got more and more backlash, it recently decided to backtrack on the price hike that they had proposed.
It is not surprising that the company has decided to roll back all the changes that it had proposed. The multiplayer games will also be free-to-play now so the fans who were earlier disappointed now have a lot to rejoice.