Xbox Live Gold was getting a price increase in certain areas.
According to a release by the Xbox Live Gold Team, Xbox Live Gold was getting a price increase of $1.00 for the 1 month subscription to $10.99 and $5.00 for the 3 month subscription to $29.99, or equivalent. The 6 month subscription was set to cost $59.99. Subscribers would have gotten notification with the exact pricing and prices wouldn’t have been adjusted until at least 45 days after receiving the message.
This price increase raised eyebrows, largely as the price for a full year has essentially doubled. Last year, Microsoft removed the 12-month option which was priced at $59.99. Publications like The Verge note that this move may have been made in order to push subscribers away from Xbox Live Gold to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Xbox Live Gold currently is their online service. Unlike with equivalent services on PlayStation or Nintendo, Xbox Live Gold is necessary to play free-to-play multiplayer online games like Fortnite. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a subscription service which includes Xbox Live Gold, but also has a catalogue of Xbox games to play across devices as well as an EA Play membership.
This move came as the team has “assess[ed] the value and pricing of our services to reflect changes in regional marketplaces.” However, based on extraordinary backlash from fans, Microsoft backtracked almost half a day later.
In their updated statement, they said that all pricing will stay as they are and not be increased. Additionally, free-to-play games will “no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox,” an update which will be coming soon.