If you are a hardcore console gamer, then you must know the cost and value that are associated with its subscription services. Microsoft Windows was the first to start a subscription service in the console space with its Xbox Live subscription and until the Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold is the gold standard of the console subscriptions.
On Friday 22 January 2021, Microsoft Windows decided to increase the price of the Xbox Live Gold Subscription. In one of its statements, the company mentioned, “The costs of a 1-month Gold membership is increasing by USD 1 and the price of a 3-month membership is increasing by USD 5 or the equivalent amount in your local market”. The statement went forward to say, “Moving forward, the new pricing for 1-month will be $10.99, 3-months it’s going to be $29.99, and 6-months it will be $59.99”.
However, after receiving backlash from users, the company rolled back its orders. It mentioned that all the new and existing members will have to pay the same amount for an Xbox Live Gold subscription as before. For one month it is $9.99, for 3 months it is $24.99 and $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.
To put up things into perspective, internationally the PlayStation Plus subscription costs the players about $59.99 per year. With the new price incoming, Xbox Live gold subscription price would be twice as expensive as the competition.
If you are new, let us tell you that Xbox Live Gold is Microsoft’s online gaming subscription service for the Xbox One and Xbox 360. It is supposed to be an online multiplayer game. Whether you are playing a co-operative game with the only friend over the Internet, or you are playing a competitive multiplayer game with many people whom you don’t know online, you would need Xbox Live Gold to do it.
Microsoft has also added some additional exciting features to its service. The members of the game get a few free games every month.
If you wish to play online multiplayer on your Xbox One or Xbox 360, you will require an Xbox Live Gold. Your subscription will also enable access to the party system and voice chat feature. If you are trying to use the online multiplayer functions within games without the subscription, you will be stopped in your tracks and will be told that you need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to continue.
This service is not important for playing single-player games, and it is not required when you are playing multiplayer games offline. For instance, you do not need to pay any amount to play a split-screen game with two people in the same room on the same console.
The subscription also isn’t required if you want to watch Netflix and Hulu, or use other media-streaming apps like Amazon Prime. For instance, In your Xbox 360 days—and even when the Xbox One was launched—you are required to pay both the Netflix subscription fee and the Xbox Live Gold subscription fee just to watch Netflix on your Xbox One, but Microsoft has changed this feature.
Microsoft offers several free games every month via its “Games With Gold” service. These games are available either for the entire month or just for two weeks and it depends. Whatever time it is available for you can choose to “redeem” them via the website or on your Xbox console. You can then download and keep the game for free on your device.
If you do not redeem the game during its free period, you won’t get it for free afterwards. This means that you won’t get any of the previous “Games With Gold” that were available for free when you subscribe. It also means that if you do not stay updated on the free game offers, you’ll miss on some games and would not get them for free. However, people who have subscriptions for a long time might have libraries full of hundreds of games that they got for free if they’re diligent.
On an Xbox One, once you have redeemed an available free game, you can download and play it whenever you feel like or forever as long as you have an active subscription. If your subscription is over, you cannot play the game anymore. If you choose to restart your subscription, you will then regain access to all the games that you previously redeemed.
On an Xbox 360, once you have redeemed a free game, it will be yours to play forever—even if your subscription is over.
Both Xbox One and Xbox 360 games are included in Games With Gold. However, Microsoft Windows has promised that all Xbox 360 games that are released through Games With Gold will be playable on the Xbox One through backwards compatibility. In simple words, all the Games With Gold games will function on an Xbox One.
You can see the currently available games through Games With Gold on Microsoft’s website, and a list of games Microsoft has previously given away on the Wikipedia page. Microsoft has also given away some of the early big Xbox One games that include Watch Dogs and Ryse: Son of Rome.
Microsoft also offers a variety of exclusive deals on digital Xbox One and Xbox 360 games to members in addition to free games. You can check the ongoing deals on the Deals With Gold website and in the Store on your Xbox. These deals will change weekly. And as with the free games available, you cannot see the latest big-name games here as soon as they are released.
Overall, the biggest advantage to Xbox Live Gold is the multiplayer access. It is worth it if you wish to play multiplayer games on your Xbox One. This is now considered as pretty standard. Sony’s PlayStation 4 needs its similar PlayStation Plus service for an online multiplayer, and even Nintendo will soon begin charging a subscription amount for its online multiplayer features on the Nintendo Switch. Almost all of the game consoles have started charging an amount for this feature, so the only option to play online multiplayer games for free is to switch to a PC.
The other features and functions are designed to be a bonus. Microsoft does offer several games via Games With Gold, and if you are patient then you can get access to a steady stream of games to play. However, you will be limited to the handful of games that Microsoft chooses for you.
If you’re still confused about buying, Microsoft does sometimes offer free trials of Xbox Live Gold with new consoles and some games. Hence, you should look out for these free trials.