In one of the first positive Friday night news dumps I can remember, Microsoft has not only reversed course on its poorly-received plan to raise the price for Xbox Live, it’s adding a treat. Soon, for free-to-play games (like Fortnite, Apex Legends or Halo Infinite when it comes out later this year), multiplayer access will be free, making the Xbox a much more attractive platform for gamers on a budget. Playing a game like Fortnite on PlayStation Network or PC has always been free, and now Xbox Live will handle things the same way.
The plans announced earlier today would’ve doubled the annual price for an Xbox Live Gold subscription that adds a number of benefits, but is mostly required for online multiplayer. Microsoft is pushing its expanded subscription that includes access to the Netflix-like Xbox Game Pass library, and the move would’ve brought the prices closer together for new members, but made it a lot more expensive to play on Xbox as a result. Now things are staying the same, but better.
To bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience we will be removing Gold requirements for free-to-play games.— Xbox (@Xbox) January 23, 2021
We're starting work on that immediately and will have updates in the coming months. Details: https://t.co/tWomNAwmp9
We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.
We’re turning this moment into an opportunity to bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience. For free-to-play games, you will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox. We are working hard to deliver this change as soon as possible in the coming months.
If you are an Xbox Live Gold member already, you stay at your current price for renewal. New and existing members can continue to enjoy Xbox Live Gold for the same prices they pay today. In the US, $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.