The Xbox Perk That Was Always Going To Happen

Microsoft made the wrong move when it announced a price hike for Xbox Gold on Jan. 22, receiving a huge backlash from fans. The changes seemed minimal at first — single-month payments were raised by a dollar, and three-month passes by $5, but the real shocker was the price of a 12-month subscription doubling from $60 to $120.


Xbox quickly provided damage control by going back on the decision just hours later, updating their blog to assure fans that no price changes would be made after all. "We messed up today and you were right to let us know," the update read. Xbox also added that free-to-play games will no longer require a Gold subscription, a decision that many gamers might say is a long time coming and rectifies what was a bad move in the first place. To many, it's a perk that was bound to happen.

Because there was a lack of impressive launch titles for the Xbox X|S at its release, it's fair to say that Microsoft relied on Xbox Gold and Game Pass subscriptions to keep players entertained for the time being. So why would Microsoft commit business suicide by ramping up the prices? One user's response on Twitter speculated that the whole thing was a "PR stunt," but analyst Daniel Ahmad had another theory.


In an extensive Twitter thread, Ahmad pointed out that Xbox has been focused on gaining subscribers for Game Pass Ultimate, so it is possible that the price hike for Gold membership was meant to encourage players to switch. "The simple fact is that everything Microsoft does or has done recently revolves around trying to get as many people to sign up to Game Pass as they can," Ahmad claimed in one of his tweets. "The company needs as many core console players as possible on the service while it gears up to acquire new users long term."

As for the announcement that Xbox will soon offer free-to-play games without a subscription, Ahmad stated his belief that this was the company's plan all along: Xbox already had intentions to offer free-to-play games for players, but the announcement was fast-tracked to ease the minds of outraged fans over the raised prices.

Xbox stated that fans can expect the free-to-play changes will become available sometime over the next few months. This means that Xbox console owners will now finally be able to play games like Fortnite and Apex Legends without shelling out a monthly fee.