Xbox Love Gold subscriptions have been raised in the US for one, three and twelve month rates. Ensuring consistent quality for all media is costly.
"Back in 2002, we launched at 49 bucks, which works out to about $4.17 a month, and we've held steady for that entire time," said Xbox Live's Craig Davison. The new prices triggered yesterday along with the new dashboard update.
One month raises from $7.99 to $9.99, three months is up $19.99 to $24.99 and twelve months from $49.99 to $59.99 in the US for Gold subscriptions. The UK only sees a change to one month, increasing from £4.99 to £5.99.
"Now what we've always been very passionate about is that quality needs to be there, but more importantly, the consistency. So if I'm playing Halo: Reach, Gears of War, Call of Duty, the consistency of the service and the experience needs to be there regardless of what that entertainment application is," continued Davison.
"So that has been critical. As you can imagine, the costs associated with maintaining a service at that level and making sure all of those features are consistent, we're hitting that quality bar, we're adding the customer service infrastructure necessary, we're accommodating all of the same social features and functionality too, there's a cost. Infrastructure costs, of course. And we're continuing to bring more and more content."
In the face of PlayStation Network's completely free multiplayer services and the like, how does Microsoft specifically justify this hike in the subscription fees?
"In 2002 it was strictly multiplayer gaming," he said. "Now we get those Call of Duty map packs before anybody else does. We've got Gears and Halo, of course, as exclusives. We continue to get exclusives on the service as well. And we've gone from 400,000 members in our first year to 25 million."
"So during that time, we've definitely got to fund it, and we want to add more and more and more. ESPN is a great example. No extra charge for Xbox Live Gold members. But we want to continue to bring that content in. We also want to continue to innovate on all dimensions, whether it's social, entertainment, or gaming. So there you go."
At E3 this year a deal between Microsoft and Activision emerged that will see all map packs for the Call of Duty franchise releasing exclusively first on Xbox 360, which is a multi-year deal they struck. How long they stay exclusive was not divulged.
Are Microsoft's prices 'justified' by what Xbox Live has to offer?