Update 2: Well, that didn’t take long. In less than 24 hours, Microsoft has reversed its decision to hike the price of Xbox Live Gold, announcing that it will retain the £49.99/$59.99 annual price point of the subscription. Moreover, it’s now removed the online paywall for free-to-play games, bringing it in line with PS Plus.
Good news for Xbox owners, then, but you have to wonder how this decision got out of the boardroom in the first place.
Update 1: Just a quick update to this story, Microsoft has now confirmed that six months of Xbox Live Gold will cost £42.99 in the UK. A 12 month subscription to PS Plus currently costs £49.99.
Original Story: Let’s hope that Microsoft’s new Xbox Live Gold pricing scheme hasn’t given Sony any ideas, because PlayStation Plus currently looks like a steal compared to the Team in Green’s revised pricing structure. If you eliminate Xbox Game Pass from the conversation, we’d argue that Sony’s primary subscription tier has been vastly superior to its closest competitor in terms of monthly games for a while – and now it’s available at half the price as well!
Currently, it costs $59.99 to subscribe to PS Plus for 12 months, but after some rumours, Microsoft has revealed that it’ll now charge $59.99 for just six months of service. This, seemingly, will only apply to new or lapsed subscribers; the wording is awkward, but it appears those with a recurring 12-month subscription will continue to pay the previous price point of $59.99 for a year.
Of course, there’s a much larger discussion to be had here, about how the Redmond firm is effectively hiking prices in order to increase the value of its Game Pass Ultimate option. However, it’s worth remembering that a large pool of players are only really interested in playing titles like FIFA 21 and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and they’ll now have to pay twice the price to do so with Xbox Live Gold compared to PS Plus.
It’s also worth adding that, at the time of writing, free-to-play titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone don’t require a PS Plus subscription on the PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, where Xbox players will have to pod out $120 to enjoy those titles online unless the firm changes its policies. That’s without even mentioning additional perks like the PS Plus Collection, which really add to the value of Sony’s service.
Of course, it’s perfectly possible the Japanese giant may be looking at this price hike and thinking it can get away with a similar increase. We hope not because, while we do feel PS Plus is good value as it is right now, we’re not sure we’d want to pay these Xbox Live Gold prices – especially when Sony doesn’t have a compelling alternative to Game Pass Ultimate just yet.