(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. is raising the price for subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold, its paid online gaming platform, doubling the cost for an annual pass and prompting swift outrage from users.
The price bump brings the cost of a six-month subscription to $60. Last year, Microsoft removed the option for a full-year subscription at that price from the online store. The cost for a monthly subscription also increased, jumping 10% to $11.
The move pushes the price of Xbox Live Gold closer to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a more expensive subscription that also gives access to games and other perks. At $15 a month, or $180 a year, Game Pass Ultimate is now only $60 more expensive than a year of Xbox Live Gold.
Game Pass has become central to Microsoft’s strategy to attract loyalty with the recent release of the Xbox Series X console. But gamers were outraged that Microsoft would raise the cost of a subscription so drastically, especially during the pandemic, when people have been spending more time on screens than usual and unemployment has risen. Users expressed frustration online, often comparing the subscription cost to Sony Corp.’s PlayStation Plus, which is $60 a year.
On Twitter, where the subject was one of the top trending topics on Friday, a gamer named Zay said “Xbox users gotta sell their Xbox just so they can get Xbox live gold.”
One user said Microsoft is out of touch with its community and the economic reality.
In justifying the move, Microsoft said the price of Xbox Live Gold “has not changed for years and in some markets, it hasn’t changed for over 10 years.”
There is no price change for existing six-month or 12-month Xbox Live Gold members.