Xbox Live Gold Price Increase is a Bizarre, Stupid Move

January 22, 2021 at 5:53pm
By Jason Stettner

Update: Xbox has decided to reverse their decision, pricing will stay the same. They also have noted that free to play games will no longer require Gold to access, with this changing over the next few months.

As many have seen, the price of Xbox Live Gold is effectively doubling in many regions. This is honestly one of the most stupid moves Xbox has ever made, and I’ll be trying to dive into the various factors behind this strange, bizarre change. First off, it’s hilarious to see the damage control on this announcement.

Doing so on a Friday, announcing Games with Gold for February early to try and show it brings minor extra value and then putting up some weak statement about how they haven’t changed the pricing in years. Now, I’ve been a defender of the Gold price for years.

You’re paying for quality services, you get a handful of games for free and then a number of other benefits. I can’t however defend this sort of change to any degree. To double the price, during a global pandemic when people are having financial issues is insanely out of touch. If they were smart, like most companies with services, you slowly increase the price.

Go up a dollar, or by twenty-five percent very slowly over time so people get used to it. A sudden massive leap of double the price is pure insanity. I could see them using this to drive Xbox Game Pass adoption faster, but this is not the way to do that.

I will mention that the Ultimate version of Game Pass is highly worth it though, best value in gaming. Now with that, Xbox Live Gold has just become the worst value in gaming in just such a brand damaging move. This is especially the case after just launching the next generation Xbox Series X/S consoles that people are trying to buy.

You’re essentially telling people not to buy your console. The Xbox Series X is fantastic, I’ve been enjoying it for a few months now. You still have millions of people looking to get into this ecosystem, and the multiplayer cost is part of what they’ll be looking at when getting the consoles.

Xbox Live Gold Price  2021
You can compare it to their competitor PS Plus and the value to double the cost for Gold just isn’t there. The Games with Gold service has been honestly awful for years, and even the five games offering for February isn’t enough to justify that change. You get Gears 5; Resident Evil, Dandara: Trials of Fear Edition, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb and Lost Planet 2 by the way.

This again, felt like damage control. That’s particularly the case since they would traditionally announce these games a week later. I also want to mention that free to play games are free on every other platform. Things like Fortnite, or Halo Infinite’s multiplayer or Call of Duty Warzone require Gold on Xbox.

If you’re on Playstation or Nintendo platforms they would cost nothing to play. It’s a weird way to gate out people trying to get a Xbox console. It’s so weird, and I don’t know how they came to the realization that this was a good idea.

All of the good will they’ve been building up being consumer friendly, and I think this just entirely negates that. Maybe I’m overacting, we’ve been getting Game Pass for nothing and I won’t get Gold again since I’m on Ultimate. I just know there are millions out there on Gold still, or considering getting a console and this sends a bad message.

Mix this into a key time in trying to get your new consoles sold, alongside the dreadful delay of Halo Infinite and it’s just not looking good. They seemed to really have things going great this generation, and this is an awful way to really kick start the new year. It’s perplexing, I’m trying to guess why and there are just few answers. There must be some incredible Games with Gold titles coming, or they’re just making sure you’re going over to Game Pass.

It was funny that many thought Gold would become free, to see it doubled is just hilarious for those individuals. I saw the value in what Gold provided for a long time, that is no longer the case. I imagine they’ll make some sort of adjustment or recall what they’re doing due to backlash, but we’ll have to wait and see. You can check out our review of Cyberpunk below, or check out the platform’s hub for further coverage as well.

Read our Cyberpunk 2077 Review
View our Xbox Hub

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner