The new pricing for Xbox Live Gold membership hit the internet yesterday, and immediately a wall of grumbling went up from Camp Green. In the US, the new pricing shows an across the board increase; up $10 on the annual option.

Before you join the grousing too heartily, consider a few things.

1) It’s still the best service available.

The most common complaint seen so far is that the PS3 offers online gaming for FREE, so where does Microsoft get off charging at all, let alone charging more for their service? But there’s a reason we’re not all switching en masse to playing multiplayer primarily on the PSN. On XBL it is just easier to navigate, easier to communicate, easier to organize a group. Even Playstation’s paid option (PSN+) doesn’t offer the most needed features like cross game voice chat and static parties that makes Live the best.

2) Nobody pays full price.

With all the promotional offers and near constant discounts at Walmart or Amazon, almost no one currently pays the full $50 a year for Live. Sure this price increase will mean those discounted prices will rise some as well, but not for a long time. There’s already a sale on cards for $40 right now. Known price increases like this result in arbitrage in the marketplace, with patient opportunists snatching up product at a low price, and reselling for a slight profit once the prices are raised. We should continue to see significant discounts on XBL cards well into the new year.

3) This is good business.

It’s tough to separate our hobby from the business behind it. I know I often argue for how the artistic and creative aspects of this industry should outweigh the dollars and cents. But in this instance, we’re talking about the price of a service. We’ll find out soon if the market will bear this price increase, but my educated guess is that it absolutely will.

4) This is a preemptive move.

There’s extra subscription budget out there, but for how long? With more and more gamers paying for subscription services, it will get harder to make a price change like this in the future. Activision has been quite verbal in recent months about its desire to generate subscription revenue from its titles and their online play. No doubt this entered into Microsoft’s decision to try to capture some more of this revenue before gamers had one more subscription in their budget.

I’m not telling you not to complain… that’s 100% your right as a consumer. Just remember, if Microsoft has to choose between listening to your mouths or your wallets, they’ll choose wallet every time.

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16 Responses to “4 Things to Consider Before Complaining about the XBL Price Hike”

  1. avatar biasedWebsite says:

    Playstation has a Browser… your argument is null and void.

    Browser > Cross Game Chat

    You are paying $59.99 to access your internet connection, plain and simple. If all the same features free on PS3 were free on the 360, would you pay an extra $59.99 for the some additions? Heck no. You know it yourself, that argument holds no water.

    You also failed to mention all the PSN features that are untouched and sorely lacking on Live. Like lag free gaming, more dedicated servers, a browser, FREE, a million other things.

    Enjoy paying $59.99 for Cross Game Chat.

    • avatar Mixmoff says:

      I can’t imagine anyone actually believes that a browser is more useful than cross game chat. I’ve used my PS3’s browser all of about 10 times, and never for any reason more compelling than just being too damn lazy to turn on my laptop. This became doubly true when hulu blocked the PS3’s browser.

      Now if the browser were accessible in game, sure then you’d have something there. But at heart this isn’t a factor in the “Is XBL worth it” debate.

      And really, “lag free”? I’ve had no discernible lag difference on either machine.

    • avatar blazed13 says:

      wii has a browser also so whats your point

    • avatar DestinedCruz says:

      Considering everybody on the staff of this website owns multiple current generation consoles, I’d hardly call our opinions ‘biased’.

      Hell if anything, I would say that Mixmoff’s bias (if he had one), would lean toward the PS3, as he owned one for years before he owned a 360.

      Your argument is null and void.

      Now, on the subject itself, Xbox Live is an actual dedicated service with a large staff actually dedicated to maintaining the community, events, online connectivity service, cross game capabilities, constant contests, deals, weekly shows (much more, and more involved than the one or two PSN has). The service costs money to keep its features and community alive the way it is. Myself? I don’t have a subscription to LIVE because I don’t want to pay for it, and I don’t play 360 games online very often, but I still love the features I do have access to for free.

      As far as online play on the PS3 goes, it works as long as the game’s developer knows what they’re doing and can create good, stable netcode for their game and implement the right features. Unfortunately, out of the games I myself have played on the system, the only one that has managed to impress me with online functionality is Uncharted 2, and even then it can be a harrowing experience to get a group of friends together, because voice chat only becomes available once everybody is in the game’s lobby. XBL, on the other hand, already has the groundwork laid out for the developer, they just need to build the game itself over the top.

      Xbox Live is more structured, stable and convenient, and PSN is free. They both have their benefits.

  2. avatar oldest gamer says:

    Any online enabled game is THE SAME ON BOTH CONSOLES. EXCEPT on XBOX LIVE YOU PAY TO PLAY. The same game modes, the same number of players, the same in game voice chat are in the same game. In fact PSN offers online games that the XBOX LIVE cannot match, MAG for one. WAR HAWK for another. How about some DEMONs SOUL? ONLY ON PLAYSTATION.

    • avatar Mixmoff says:

      No surprise the fanboys of the world want to turn this, yet again, into PS3 vs. 360. Cost/Value for a service is the topic, not what great exclusives each system has. At this point in the life cycle each camp can point out huge lists of amazing exclusives.. the service itself is what we’re focusing on.

  3. avatar Charlie says:

    Good article man, its 100% true and people need to calm the hell down about it. Just be glad it wasn’t a $15 hike or whatnot. I for one am still gonna use it because XBL is a very good online service.

    You get what you pay for!

  4. avatar Your Brother :) says:

    Im not happy about it at all, but at least its not $15 a month.

  5. avatar DevilDogA99 says:

    If Sony would add cross game chat & they also include it fir free then PSN wins hands down.

  6. avatar Adam says:

    From what I have heard so far it isn’t getting a price rise in Australia, and heck thats bloody brilliant, we already get screwed over so much by our game providers.
    A normal retail game here costs $100 – $120, while it’s $60 in the US, and currently our currency isn’t THAT different for that high a price tag.

  7. avatar Toddo says:

    Personal stances on the issue are going to vary of course. But if a company is going to charge for a service that is free on every other platform then advertising at every corner is ethically screwed no matter how you cut it.

    I know that ESPN and Hulu Plus are coming but don’t forget that you have to pay for Hulu plus as well as netflix on top of the 60 dollars after the hike. That’s roughly 80 dollars a year to utilize the features that they are raising the price tag for.

    Take all that in consideration before NOT complaining about the XBL price hike.

  8. avatar 1nf3k701d says:

    Meh. I haven’t renewed Gold and this make me never want to touch it again. Im sticking with Steam and PSN.

  9. avatar Ad says:

    2-4 are really business based and benefit MS – not gamers. You can get why they’d do it, but it doesn’t make it any less of a dick move.

    As far as #1 goes – it still comes down to paying $60 compared to $0 for online gaming. Essentially, XBL charges you $60 for cross-game chat & forming groups. Is that worth it?

    At the end of the day though, not many people will switch because most of them will own an Xbox or a PS3, not both. If they want to play Halo Reach they’ll cough up. But still – dick move, MS.

    • avatar DestinedCruz says:

      You’re actually paying the $60 for them to keep every aspect of the Xbox Live service running – even everything you can access for free with a Silver membership. It’s like donator perks on websites or some indie games – you’re getting online gaming access as a perk of helping pay for the service.

  10. avatar 'projectjr' says:

    Ive never really written anything online so excuse me for my errors…Im no bloggingwhore…

    first of i must say its very true, i’m not gonna sit here and be bias in regards to what service is superior. i’m not sure if the price hike is justifiable but xbl is 100 times better then psn. i own a PS360 and i don’t play any multi-player online games on it, all the ‘cod, nba 2k, tom Clancy series get rapped on my 360.

    i mean i love my PS3 and own alot of amazing stellar software for it like uncharted 2 and killzone 2…but if i am to be very honest i use it primarily for playing blu ray disc when i have them and ps3 exclusives or multi-platform games that are truly superior and traditionally enjoyed on the ps3; like heavy rain and final fantasy.

    everything else is done on my 360 because its (excuse me for my canadian french) freakin-hella-damn-dummy-proof EASY! its that simple! when it comes to communicating with friends while in game, creating a group while viewing a movie, and navigating through music while in the geasr of war wait lobby…oh yea i cant play music on my ps3 while playing god of war :-(

    I would much rather pay for XBL then have PSN for free if this be the option cause to me 50 bucks per year is not much, i do have a job like most people and pay for other services like my blackberry on rogers(canadian carrier) and insurance on my car. so really 50 bucks is like the purchase of one game and even less, if im gonna buy 12 games in the year then i guess i’ll buy 11 instead and how come no ones complaining about how expensive games are getting especially the crappy ones…there should be pricing tears for games.

    my final scrambled thoughts are that i’m not sure how much xbl service should cost but right now its ok for me until psn and the entire ps3 user interface becomes easier simpler, more user friendly and less stale. xbl simply feels alive its much more of a gamers community with the party mode its like RIM’s Blackberry Messenger such a key feature plus xbl it favors social networking even updates on my 360 are simpler i dread my psn and ps3 game updates.

    ….well later dudes im out

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