Xbox Live Gold Updates | TAG Roundup #82

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Xbox Live has been a staple for Microsoft gaming fans over the last couple of decades. It’s all but a necessity if you plan on having an Xbox console. 

Last week, there were updates on pricing, a reversal of those updates, and general hoopla over the state of Xbox Live. The back and forth culminated in an apology from the Microsoft team and some interesting changes going forward.

If you want even more gaming news, check out our entire TAG Roundup series! The last post featured a looping rogue-like with sprite graphics and deck-building. 

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Upcoming Changes to Xbox Live Structure – Xbox

The basis of Xbox Live Gold is “multiplayer for everyone”. Microsoft boasts “the most advanced network”, multiplayer gaming, free games, and game discounts. In short, Xbox Live Gold elevates your gaming experience on Microsoft consoles.

For the longest time, you could pick up 12 months of Xbox Live Gold for $60. This was a stellar deal considering you were bound to get several AAA games for free within that time period. Additionally, gamers need Xbox Live Gold to play online at all.

Last year, Microsoft made the decision to stop selling the 12-month pass. You could still purchase a full year of Xbox Live Gold from 3rd party retailers, but it meant you were far less likely to find a deal on the pass.

Coming from Playstation’s world where PS+, Sony’s Xbox Live Gold equivalent, could be purchased regularly at a discount, Microsoft always seemed like a much pricier option. While both grant free games and online multiplayer access, players have gotten used to the $60 price point for 12 months.

Last week, Microsoft decided to announce a price increase for Xbox Live Gold. The gaming community was strongly opposed to this announcement, as expected.

Microsoft had stated an increase on the 1-, 3-, and 6-month Xbox Live Gold passes. At the top end, 6 months of Xbox Live Gold would now cost $60. A quick scroll through Twitter and you’ll find outrage beyond belief at this spike.

After seeing the backlash, Microsoft not only reverted the price changes, but they are also removing the restrictions on free-to-play games. In the coming months, gamers will no longer need Xbox Live Gold to enjoy F2P titles online!

How Should We Price Xbox Live?

After all this, what is the correct price for gaming services? People were mad several months ago when developers announced a $10 price increase for solo games, but when you account for inflation, the price of video games has been trending downward over the last half century.

Additionally, gaming is one of the most cost-effective hobbies. You can often get 30-40 hours out of a $60 game, bringing your hourly rate to less than $2 per hour. Compare this to something like skiing, and you’re seeing a great return on your investment.

For me, the Xbox Series S is the first microsoft console I’ve owned in about a decade. I wasn’t familiar with the inner workings of Xbox Live, but after doing some research, saw how valuable it is. Within the first month, I had already played about 20 hours of Madden. I also downloaded some of the iconic Microsoft exclusives like Gears of War and Halo.

Lastly, game developers are often over-worked and under-paid. In the gaming industry, things can be especially difficult for indie studios that don’t have the budget of the major players. Xbox Live brings plenty of great indie games to the forefront, expanding their reaching and strengthening the name of the developers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a deal hunter who rarely pays retail price for anything. However, the sheer utility of having Live Gold on your Microsoft console likely outweighs even a 2X increase in price. If you don’t believe me, upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $1 and then tell me it’s still not worth it!

Honorable Mentions in Last Week’s Gaming World

That’s All For Now

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