on Friday, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) It announced a raft of price increases for its Xbox Live Gold online gaming service, then turned itself back hours later after a wave of criticism.
The IT giant originally announced that Gold would cost an additional $ 1 for a one-month membership, raising its cost to $ 10.99. Three-month membership is set at $ 29.99 ($ 24.99 previously). The longest run currently available, six months, would have gone up to $ 59.99 ($ 39.99 previously). Microsoft is no longer offering an option for one year.
There will be no immediate change in price for Gold subscribers with existing six or 12-month memberships.
In its original announcement of the price hike, Microsoft indicated that in many of its markets, these prices had not changed for years.
There was much speculation that Microsoft’s move was an attempt to persuade subscribers to upgrade to the online gaming category, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This grants access to over 100 games, grants exclusive discounts, and provides other perks, among the most important benefits of a Gold membership. Microsoft would have kept Ultimate’s price unchanged at $ 14.99 a month.
Anger over price hikes was fast and sometimes noisy. In response, shortly before midnight ET on Friday, Microsoft rescinded the decision in amending its original announcement, writing the following: “We got it wrong today and you were right to tell us. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we’ve failed to meet it. The expectations of the players who depend on it every day. “
In addition to finally leaving gold pricing unchanged, Microsoft said that free games will be available on Xbox without a Gold subscription, as previously required. She said she hoped to implement this change in the next few months.