So yesterday at around 3 am I was watching Netflix via my Xbox like I usually do, I noticed my movie stopped playing followed by a message about a upgrade. After upgrading I was greeted with a newly polished Xbox Live UI. But it ain't all good because from now on yearly subscriptions will increase from $50 to $60, quarterly subscriptions will jump from $20 to $25, and monthly subscriptions will go up from $8 to $10. Some might not see it as a big jump now but will this be the last time? So why the rise in pricing? Here's the cool-aid Microsoft wants us to drink.
“In 2002 it was strictly multiplayer gaming,” Xbox Live's Craig Davison told Gamasutra. “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.”
OK I understand where there coming from with the exclusives and all, but if there is going to be a price hike every time a service like ESPN becomes available then at some point it won't be worth it. Not to mention most gamers really don't care about exclusives. Last time I checked I didn't have any problems getting ESPN on the television or iPhone. What they don't tell you is that users can only access this ESPN3 content if their ISP has struck a deal with ESPN as well. Of course part of Microsoft's rate hike involves paying ESPN for the honor of this service, and your ISP is likely passing on the cost of this agreement to you as well.
I can live with 60 bucks a year, but how much of us can live with more than that?