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The Real Reason Microsoft Backtracked On Its Controversial Price Hike

Right before the weekend, Microsoft laid out some bad news. No, Halo Infinite hasn't been delayed again. It's far worse than that: Microsoft was hiking up Xbox Live Gold's subscription prices. But, the company backpedaled this decision so hard it also removed the stipulation that you need the subscription for free-to-play games — which is good news, considering Halo Infinite's multiplayer will be free-to-play. Why did Microsoft reverse course so quickly? Would you believe the age-old adage, "The customer is always right"?


In a move nobody saw coming, Microsoft wrote an addendum to the blog post that broke the price increase news and stated quite plainly that the company "messed up." According to the article, the fan backlash to the initial decision was so swift and scathing, it convinced Microsoft that going through with the increase would be a bad business choice.

"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," explained the updated blog. "As a result, we have decided to not change Xbox Live Gold pricing."

The article also implied that Microsoft needed to show a sign of good faith to "bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience," which is why the company is removing the Xbox Live Gold subscription gate for free-to-play titles. While Microsoft insists the change will take time, gamers will finally be able to play titles like Fortnite without paying money for Xbox Live Gold.


Ever since console manufacturers introduced free-to-play titles to the menu, Xbox owners were left out of the fun. PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch owners could play these games without spending money on subscriptions. Meanwhile, Xbox players had to fork over cash for a subscription — which became a growing problem, due to cross-play functionality. Thanks to the fan response and Microsoft's desire to reclaim some goodwill, this is no longer an issue.

It is times like these that remind audiences and video game developers to never underestimate the power of protest. Granted, it helps to levy these concerns at companies that understand the best way to make a profit is to please its customers. At this point, it appears that Microsoft isn't putting greenbacks ahead of gamers, as demonstrated by its current Bethesda/Zenimax plans and its eagerness to readily fix pricing gaffes like this one.