Microsoft has begun contacting subscribers to its Xbox Live Gold service to warn them of an impending 25 percent price hike, which it blames on 'changing market conditions'.
Originally launched for Microsoft's Xbox in 2002, Xbox Live has followed the company through its three generations of devices: The release of the Xbox 360 saw the service split into the free Xbox Live Silver and the paid-for Xbox Live Gold. For Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners, Xbox Live Gold brings with it a range of benefits including the ability to play most multiplayer games online - a feature artificially restricted for Xbox Live Silver members - with private, party, and in-game chat, game streaming and recording functionality, and the Games with Gold programme, launched in 2013, which allows players to receive access to free games for as long as they are a paying member.
The cost of membership, however, is set to rise for those in the UK. In an email received and verified by TrueAchievements, Microsoft has warned that the cost of a 12-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold is going to go from £39.99 to £49.99 - an increase of 25 percent.
'As of May 08, the 12-month subscription fee for Xbox Live Gold is increasing from £39.99 to £49.99 to address changing market conditions,' the email reads. 'All current subscribers will keep their current subscription fee for 90 days. You will be charged the new price effective August 7, 2019 unless you choose to cancel your subscription before the next scheduled payment.'
The revised pricing puts Microsoft's service on a par with rival Sony's PlayStation Plus (PS Plus), which also costs £49.99 for a similar range of features. The price rise, however, appears to be exclusive to those members in the UK - and while the company hasn't explicitly named the 'changing market conditions' responsible for the hike it's not difficult to imagine certain political activities currently ongoing which may have contributed.
Microsoft has advised anyone with queries to contact its Xbox support team.
January 24 2020 | 12:00