Microsoft Raises Xbox LIVE Subscription Costs

In: Articles by Nick "Alsop Live" Dinicola

30 Aug 2010

cryingThis morning the Internet exploded with a frugal-driven fury.

That’s when Microsoft’s Major Nelson announced that the subscription price for Xbox Live will increase across the board starting November 1. A year’s subscription will go from $49.99 to $59.99, a three month subscription will go from $19.99 to $24.99, and a one month subscription will go from $7.99 to $9.99.

It’s not all bad, however. Effective immediately, a year’s subscription has been discounted to $39.99. So if you renew your subscription now, before the price change goes into effect, you won’t have to worry about the increase until 2011. If you’ve already renewed, say in the middle of August like myself, then it seems you’re out of luck. Even though renewing a second time should make me good through 2012, my “renewal date” status still says 2011.

It’s an odd decision by Microsoft, especially since Sony has been steadily increasing the value of the Playstation Network. You can play online, watch Netflix, and even connect to Facebook for free through PSN — all of which are features that Microsoft uses to justify Live’s price. To stack things even higher against Microsoft, to play online you must buy an online-enabled game, to watch Netflix you must already have a subscription with that service, and to watch the forthcoming content from ESPN you must have a subscription with an ESPN3–affiliated broadband provider. So with LIVE, you’re really just paying for special access to content you’re already paying for.

With all that said, however, PSN still doesn’t offer cross-game chat — something that seems downright medieval to anyone who has spent time in an eight-person Xbox Live party. And Nintendo is still in the stone age when it come to online gaming.

ShackNews has some comments from Jessie Divinich of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR), who cites inflation as a factor in the increased price. Apparently $50 in 2002 (when Live first started) is about equivalent to $60 in 2010. So technically you’re not actually paying anything more.

But no one really cares about technicalities.

The increase probably wouldn’t have been met with so much hate if it came alongside an announcement of some new features, but we already know about ESPN, and the upcoming patch to improve voice chat is just the kind of server-side maintenance you expect from a paid service like this. Personally, I wouldn’t mind the extra $10 a year if it meant 1 vs. 100 would come back. But without a peep on extra features, it’s hard not to feel like I’m being gouged. Of course I’ll pay it, since I have the money and I spend so much time gaming online already, but like everyone else I won’t be happy about it, and it sets an unsettling precedent for the future.

As icing on this bizarre cake, Nintendo announced today that it’s dropping the price of the DSi and DSi XL. While this has nothing to do with online gaming per say, one company’s announcement of a price increase can only look worse when compared to another company’s announcement of a price drop.

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2 Responses to Microsoft Raises Xbox LIVE Subscription Costs

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Felix

August 31st, 2010 at 5:40 pm

How is this post not full of nerd rage? crazy. To be honest the extra $10 a year is negligible, then again, i was with edie on EA’s sports subscription for pre-owned. Xbl gives $100 worth of fun if you have the right friends list. I’ve been close friends with a Texan for around 5 years now, i genuinly consider 2 – 3 of my list actual friends. Only reason i don’t have xbl is internet access point issues *Sadface*

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The Lemon of Truth

September 1st, 2010 at 9:17 am

Well, being from Canada, we already pay $59.99 a year, and pay $20 for only 1400 MS points, so we are pretty used to overpaying Microsoft. As long s they don’t bring up the price for us again, this won’t seem that much different to us.

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