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Xbox Live Pricing To Go Up To $60 Per Year

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the nickles-and-dimes dept.

Microsoft 199

donniebaseball23 writes "Microsoft has raised the annual price of Xbox Live Gold to $60, which is a price hike of $10. The new price goes into effect on November 1, but gamers can lock in the current Xbox Live price by renewing now. EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich is not surprised by the move, nor does he think it will really have much impact on the Xbox momentum."

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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420178)

Getting the first post and not paying Slashdot? Priceless.

deh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420232)

I don't even fucking pay 60$ per year for my internet connection...

Re:deh. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420288)

And that sir, is why you didn't make FP.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420238)

They have the online console gaming market to do so. Most folks won't realize the change and will accept the new price hike. Fortunately for me I don't own any console games; therefore, I am not affected!

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420652)

I have a PS3, so mine's still free, so ha ha!

Or at least, it would be, if didn't have to stick with firmware 3.20 to keep OtherOS. :(

Makes Sense (5, Funny)

chazchaz101 (871891) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420244)

Well, with the price of gold these days...

Re:Makes Sense (2, Funny)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420934)

Its like they say. Girlfriends are for people who cannot afford Xbox live memberships.

Physics majors cringe (1, Flamebait)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420252)

nor does he think it will really have much impact on the Xbox momentum.

Thats not "momentum", its more like the "acceleration of gravity", 9.8 m/s/s DOWN DOWN DOWN

http://gamingbolt.com/xbox-360-lifetime-sales-reach-42-million [gamingbolt.com]

"The shipment for the previous 12 months, however, has fallen from 11.2 million units to 10.3 million units, an 8 percent drop."

Re:Physics majors cringe (3, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420374)

... except that everyone who owns an XBox is a potential customer for XBox live.

XBox sales don't need to increase or even maintain for the installed base of the system to be increasing.

In a sense your physics is right but your math, or at least your applied math, is bad.

Xbox is dead; long live Xbox 360 (0, Flamebait)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420986)

... except that everyone who owns an XBox is a potential customer for XBox live.

By "Xbox" did you mean Xbox 360? Xbox Live service for the original Xbox has ended [cnet.com] .

Re:Xbox is dead; long live Xbox 360 (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421294)

Who cares?

His point is that not everyone who initially bought an Xbox (any generation) immediately purchased an XBox live account.
So even though they moved less units last year that doesnt necessarily mean they will have less Live subscribers.

:/

Perhaps you've never heard of saturation (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420444)

There are only so many people that want game consoles. The idea that their sales will go up and up forever is silly. Never happened in the past. They sell a lot when they come out, maybe even at an increasing rate as they drop in price and become popular, however they then decline as they age and most people who want one own one.

Also the real money in consoles is not made on the hardware, it is on the software. The hardware is sold for a fairly minimal profit at best, and sometimes sold for a loss (the 360 was sold at a loss when it launched). The money is made in the games and services. You have to pay a per copy sold licensing fee to release a game on a console. So you make real money in selling lots of games people want, and on having services (like Xbox live) they pay for.

Of course you do need console owners for that, so console sales aren't irrelevant, but if you sell tens of millions of consoles and your sales ramp off, that's fine, so long as people buy stuff for them.

Re:Perhaps you've never heard of saturation (5, Funny)

stagg (1606187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420492)

There are only so many people that want game consoles. The idea that their sales will go up and up forever is silly.

Although they did try to address this with a 50%+ failure rate in the first year...

Re:Perhaps you've never heard of saturation (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420692)

Another issues is that a game console ages, the actual number of active users is likely to decrease. This, along with the hike in price, means that number of subscribers will decrease. However, single there is like a significant marginal costs to XBox live(if there was not there would no incentive to increase the price-yes the argument is a little circular), one could have a significant drop in subscribers and still have an increase in profits.

Re:Perhaps you've never heard of saturation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420744)

The original Xbox was sold at a loss of $23 per unit. The Xbox 360 was sold at a loss of $71 per unit.

The PS2 was sold at a loss of $189 per unit.
The PS3 was orignally sold at a loss of $250 per unit.

Sony has never charged for online gaming.
Microsoft has always charged for online gaming.

The money has always, for every system, been in software sales, until the wii came out.

Re:Perhaps you've never heard of saturation (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421066)

Which is why despite the FOSS guys having a shitfit killing the OtherOS on PS3 was a smart move. As you pointed out its the software, not the hardware, where the money is made. Those buying a dozen PS3s for OtherOS were using it to do simulations, not play the latest AAA title. since Sony is losing money on each unit having the OtherOS was a money sink and encouraging customers that would never buy games. Of course if Sony offered OtherOS units for $1000 to make up for the fact that users didn't buy games they;d probably get screamed at for gouging, so either way they were screwed.

As for TFA, MSFT now has control of the living room, a stated purpose for the Xbox, it only makes sense they are gonna raise the price to help wipe out the debt from the RRoD and earlier Xbox. I know plenty of guys hooked on XBL and they will happily hand them that extra $10 without blinking. To me the bigger question will be now that they have lowered the production cost whether they will lower the price come Xmas shopping time to really stick it to Sony or not. As I'm sure we all know Sony is bleeding cash on every sale and can't afford to match another price drop. If Gates was there I'm sure the answer would be yes, as crushing competition was one of his favorite past times. Ballmer? He is so busy trying to be Jobs (I STILL think the Gates Borg should be replaced by a Ballmer with his tongue out in a Jester hat wearing an "I Heart Apple!" T-shirt to reflect the new management) I don't know whether he is paying attention to the x360 much ATM.

Lock in at $40 (5, Informative)

tzenes (904307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420260)

For those of you interested you can lock in your yearly rate at $40 a year (a $10 discount on the current price and $20 on the increased price) by going to this link:

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/pricelock/default.htm [xbox.com]

Re:Lock in at $40 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420322)

Or you can save yourself $60 by not paying MS anything.

Re:Lock in at $40 (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420738)

Personally, I've saved myself all the money and am no longer paying MS anything. I think the disgusting abuses of market position are really enough. For instance that whole we're going to only deal with points, but you can only buy the sum of points that we want to sell you is complete bullshit. Best save all the money and not buy anything from them at all.

If not 360 or Windows, then what? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421004)

AC wrote:

Or you can save yourself $60 by not paying MS anything.

So if Xbox 360 and Windows PC are out of the question because they are controlled by Microsoft, which platform do you recommend for gaming?

Re:If not 360 or Windows, then what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421358)

Where I live Microsoft is required (by my laws) to provide free support & upgrades for the life of the product.
Win3/Win95/WinNT/WinXP.. its all the same product.

Re:If not 360 or Windows, then what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421452)

AC wrote:

Or you can save yourself $60 by not paying MS anything.

So if Xbox 360 and Windows PC are out of the question because they are controlled by Microsoft, which platform do you recommend for gaming?

PS3 possibly?

Re:Lock in at $40 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420418)

You're not locking into the yearly rate. You're getting the $40 for this year and then the "regular rate" for the next year when auto renewal comes up.

Re:Lock in at $40 (4, Interesting)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420680)

Still a good deal though (thxs), even if it's just for a year. Personally, I'm on the fence about renewing now ... for $40 I'll probably renew it, but at $60 it's probable I won't next year.

Lately, all I've used my M$ Xbox Live for is Netflix and very rarely for games. The Xbox is the fastest/most convenient way of watching Netflix ... but if the price goes up and I don't find myself playing Live games any more over the next few months, it'll be time to drop it in favor of just watching it through the PC.

Of course, then I'll need to buy myself that silly DisplayPort adapter so I can output to the TV and both monitors at the same time from the PC instead of having to choose 2 of 3 screens already connected via the other ports, but that's another story/rant...

Re:Lock in at $40 (2)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420774)

Funny, I'm in almost the same boat and I don't mind at all. Granted, $60 means that it'll likely be $50 from Amazon (It's now $40 on Amazon, as opposed to $50 from Microsoft), but still $60 is $5/month. That's a single beer in a bar, once a month. For the (very little) I get out of Xbox Live Gold, I think $5 a month is worth it.

Re:Lock in at $40 (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420762)

Can't I buy that to lock in this year - And go to HMV and buy like ten $40 Gold Live cards, for the next ten years? Or will those no cards longer be valid after November 1, and if so do I get refunded?

Linux, once again, shows its advantages (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420262)

Once again, users locked into proprietary, closed source software running on proprietary, closed source operating systems find themselves locked in and held at gunpoint by their corporate masters. In my life as a Linux user, using only open source software, I have never found myself in this position. Where the xbox to run on Linux, the games would run faster, due to Linux's enormously powerful graphics API's that put DirectX to shame, they would be more secure and cheat proof due to Linux's enormously superior security model, and the games would have less bugs as people would be able to inspect the source. Linux, victorious, once more. I can hear Redmond's boots quaking from miles away.

wow (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420266)

This is probably the least outrageous thing I've read on slashdot in a while.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420398)

Since launching Xbox LIVE in 2002 we have continually added more content and entertainment experiences for our members, while keeping the price the same.

Let me translate that for you:

Since launching Xbox LIVE in 2002 we have continually added more content and entertainment experiences for our members [that we charge you for and make a profit off of], while keeping the price the same [for the base service. We'll continue charging the same for premium content].

Still lacking outrage?

Re:wow (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420578)

They didn't add content and experience. They deigned to allow publishers to add content and experiences while charging them significantly more per unit than Sony and Nintendo. The only feature Xbox LIVE offers for free inside the walled garden is multiplayer gaming... the task that requires the -least- effort on the part of their servers (spend five seconds matchmaking,then get out of the way). The other services they've offered "while keeping the price the same"? Netflix ( costs extra, not actually Microsoft's content ), movie rentals ( costs extra, not Microsoft's content ), and demos ( A) should be free, by definition, B) Not really Microsoft's content, C) I think they might even charge publishers per demo download, but don't hold me to that, D) they're goddamn commercials. )

There must have been an increase in the cost of fuel ( for the trucks that drive through the tubes ), because I have a hard time believing they've had to throw significantly more resources into the "doing jack shit and taking a week to respond to people doing real work" department.

But hey, they realized they can't actually charge 150 dollars for Kinect and not attach a free game to it. Thank you, everyone who didn't pre-order it ( which I assume is absolutely everyone ). Now we can duck girders on a moving platform for less than the cost of an entire new Arcade bundle.

/vent

Re:wow (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420788)

They didn't add content and experience.

An entire new UI, Avatars, the recently canceled game show, and there is a steady stream of content that comes to the Xbox Live platform.

Providing the platform is not free. MS has to run the datacenters that all of the content is served off of, and has to maintain teams of people to support the infrastructure, from the technology side of it to the more mundane stuff like enforcing the terms of service.

Online services do not appear out of the ether, someone has to build, improve, and support them.

Re:wow (3, Insightful)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420888)

New UI and Avatars .. available to people who don't pay for Gold.

Paying gets you multiplayer, access to Hulu Plus (if you pay for that and are in the US), Netflix (if you pay for that), Sky TV (if you pay for that and are in the UK), and similar services in Portugal or Australia.

So, really, what you pay for is multiplayer.. that they don't even host. They do the matchmaking and get out of the way.

Re:wow (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421036)

So, really, what you pay for is multiplayer.. that they don't even host. They do the matchmaking and get out of the way.

Must be why they only charge a paltry $5 a month.

Re:wow (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421154)

At $5/month from every Gold subscriber, they should be hosting every match. If all they're going to do is matchmaking and advertising, they can do that at no cost to the end user.

Re:wow (1)

Whyte Panther (868438) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421084)

Well, apart from multiplayer, you do get weekly sales (although they only occasionally intersect with your interests), and demo access one week earlier than non-gold users. And there was 1 vs 100 while that was around which was quite fun (but disappointing that it's not being renewed) Not saying it's an amazing deal or anything, but there is a bit more than the multiplayer.

Re:wow (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421156)

You are also paying for them to host all the marketplace content. You know how every Xbox Live game has a demo? Those costs money to host.

All those extras (themes, backgrounds, promo vids) which can be downloaded through Xbox Live? Those cost money to host.

Policing multiplayer games? That costs money.

Also the multiplayer match making servers and ranking servers do cost money to host. The servers that push patches out to players cost money to host. Heck just testing those patches costs money.

Now obviously some of the content listed above is accessible to everyone, and in the case of some things, such as demos for highly anticipated games, content is made available earlier to Gold members, but the fact remains that all of the above involve ongoing recurring costs.

Re:wow (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421208)

I want the OLD UI back. The new one sucks donkey balls. At least the old one kept the ads segregated to the page where you were buying stuff anyhow. I absolutely LOATHE turning on my 360, because I know it comes up with a wall full of ads. I paid for the damned thing, it didn't have quite that level of advertisement when I bought it, and the ads bring nothing but pain to the experience. And Avatars suck.

Re:wow (1)

IRWolfie- (1148617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420980)

An increase every so often because of inflation would be expected, but anyway If they can increase the price and demand doesn't decrease significantly, what business wouldn't increase the price? After all they are a business and do have obligations to make profit for their shareholders

Re:wow (1)

IRWolfie- (1148617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420988)

I should add that I mean they don't need to add services to increase the price

Boo (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420268)

My only online play is for one hour per week with my brother in another state. It's a bad deal for me, even at current rates. Why this even requires a paid subscription is a mystery to me, older games could "direct link" to a specific IP without paying anybody.

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420296)

Because they don't make money off of "direct link". Microsoft wants to nickel and dime you as much as they can.

Re:Boo (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420320)

$10 divided by the 52 hours you spend talking to your brother on Xbox Live == $0.19 an hour extra you are paying. How much is a long distance phone plan?

Re:Boo (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420498)

$10 divided by the 52 hours you spend talking to your brother on Xbox Live == $0.19 an hour extra you are paying. How much is a long distance phone plan?

If he's anything like the average Xbox player, he probably has a cell phone and doesn't pay anything extra for long distance. Depending on when that hour is, it's likely a call made at that time would not even consume his monthly allotment of minutes.

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420558)

How much is a voip plan on the computer or phone.
What does it cost microsoft when you play thier games that requires that host the server yourself.
I could accept a minimum free but even when you pay for the subscription everything but playing online still costs money. And playing online still means the subscribers have to host the session thenself on their crappy dsl lines.

Re:Boo (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420982)

$10 divided by the 52 hours you spend talking to your brother on Xbox Live == $0.19 an hour extra you are paying. How much is a long distance phone plan?

Considering Xbox live requires an internet connection anyway, how about using any of a gazillion free voice chat programs instead and buying your brother a couple beers the next time he's in town instead?

Re:Boo (0, Troll)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420344)

Hmm, the same company that produced Bill Gates somehow isn't making enough money, so it needs to raise its prices?

price drop (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420274)

What happened to the rumor a few months ago that XBOX live pricing was dropping? I remember when amazon had the 12+1 month cards for $30 and everyone was saying it's because they're going to drop the price anyway.

They can get away with it by pointing to Sony... (2, Interesting)

Dusty101 (765661) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420276)

Perhaps the timing of this isn't a coincidence, given that Sony recently just launched their own pay-to-play subscription service, PSN Plus? They can claim that this is just the going rate, nowadays...

Re:They can get away with it by pointing to Sony.. (5, Insightful)

crabbz (986605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420336)

Sony does not charge to play on PSN. PSN+ gives you access to content, everyone can play.

Re:They can get away with it by pointing to Sony.. (4, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420552)

Sony's not putting Netflix behind some bizarre paywall either.

Re:They can get away with it by pointing to Sony.. (1)

MaxBooger (1877454) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420748)

Well, I believe that Sony has stated that firmware access for NetFlix will be a Plus exclusive for a month or so. After that, it will be moved to the free side.

Re:They can get away with it by pointing to Sony.. (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420952)

Sony may have stated such a thing, but I doubt it. Netflix works without PSN+, and has done so since before PSN+ was rolled out.

Hulu Plus may or may not be available to free PSN. I don't know, can't check.

Re:They can get away with it by pointing to Sony.. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420790)

How could they do that? Netflix owns the rights to the content, the only thing that Sony could do is refuse to sign the disc, but at the end of the day, it doesn't cost Sony anything, it's Netflix (Well really Amazon) servers, the customers ISP's bandwidth, the only part that has anything to do with Sony is the PS3, which has already been paid for by the customer.

Re:They can get away with it by pointing to Sony.. (4, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420834)

Ask Microsoft how they can do it. That's exactly what they do. You have to be a gold subscriber in order to use the Netflix app/dashboard/whatever you call it on 360.

Re:They can get away with it by pointing to Sony.. (2, Interesting)

sixfootfive (1875604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421360)

It was free for a bit, I had let my Gold membership expire, which gave me a Silver, and Netflix worked for about 2 weeks before they required the Gold memberships. I think this is in poor taste. If I bought the console, pay for a Netflix subscription, and pay to have Internet, why does Microsoft need money for this transaction as well?

Re:They can get away with it by pointing to Sony.. (2, Informative)

MaxBooger (1877454) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420726)

PSN Plus is a superset of PSN, mainly related to the PSN online store. With Plus, they offer beta access to some games, store discounts, free copies of older PSN titles as well as other goodies. The core networking of PSN is untouched and remains free.

What? (3, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420292)

All those extra features with no ongoing costs, and it's a real pity computer services aren't getting cheaper... No, wait...

$5 a month (2, Insightful)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420710)

I hate to be the one to defend Microsoft here. $60 may seem like a big number, but do the math: $60 per year is $5 a month. That cost is nothing compared to what you're already paying for Internet or cable TV service.

Re:$5 a month (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420754)

That's still $5 a month I could spend on something else.

Re:$5 a month (1, Insightful)

sxeraverx (962068) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420812)

Yes. And I'm already paying for internet service. I'm paying for internet service. Online play is internet service. Online play is internet service. I'm already paying the person who provides my internet access to be able to play online. And MS asking my to pay them, too. Next thing you know, game developers will also want their fair share of the profits from online play. Because that's no longer included in the cost of the game. So they'll start charging you. So you're paying $50/month for internet access, $60/year for XBL server access, and another $60/year to unlock multiplayer in a game you've payed for, payed for access to the internet for, and paid for the ability to access the server of. What happened to paying $20-$30 for a game, with multiplayer, with servers, with no monthly fee, except that of your ISP charging for internet access?

And they were good games, too.

Re:$5 a month (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420872)

Next thing you know, game developers will also want their fair share of the profits from online play. Because that's no longer included in the cost of the game. So they'll start charging you.

Yep. Yay for double, triple, and quadruple-dipping!

Oh wait, not 'yay', 'boo-urns'.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/05/ea-sports-to-charge-10-to-play-used-games-online.ars [arstechnica.com]

Re:$5 a month (5, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420970)

Turns out that when people wanted Consoles to be a "more equal" platform for online gaming, that meant routing all traffic through proprietary servers.

That's right, even though Halo 3 was designed with P2P hosting/clients in mind, it still has to run through Microsoft Servers in order to weed out hacking and other malicious activities that people try to pull off with an XBox. What you pay for with that 60/year is that service, the matchmaking, the tracking, the moderators who have to ban people, etc.

That kind of environment doesn't pay for itself. If you don't like it, the PC market is still alive.

Re:$5 a month (1)

sxeraverx (962068) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421270)

That kind of environment doesn't pay for itself.

Shame Blizzard isn't making any money off of SC2.

SC2 has all those features you listed: running through dedicated servers, matchmaking, tracking, moderators banning people who cheat, etc.

Shame S2 Games isn't making any money on HoN, either.

Yes, I realize these are both PC games. Consoles are PCs. Networking them is no different than networking PCs. Game devs making shitty assumptions about the security of consoles compared to PCs is no excuse for exorbitant fees to try to weed out behavior that exposes that. In fact, I think that's called extortion: "Yeah, we'll prevent other people from cheating against you. For a fee."

Re:$5 a month (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421284)

... does everyone forget about the PS3 or something?

Re:$5 a month (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421286)

That kind of environment doesn't pay for itself. If you don't like it, the PC market is still alive.

Well, sort of. Except that the same companies that are forcing us to go through centralized admin/anti-cheat servers (and according to you pay for the service) are doing the same in the PC space, minus having to pay for it (so far). Every PC gamer I know was quite content with self-governed, privately-hosted servers where the publisher incurs zero cost for hosting games, but for some reason we are being forced to only play on centralized servers in the newer games.

I'm sure very soon will be asked to pay for this "service" (that no one asked for) because the poor poor publishers will be whining about how having to host games is bleeding them dry.

So yes, the PC market is still alive, but every day it seems to be moving closer to being indistinguishable from the console market.

Re:$5 a month (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421234)

Next thing you know, game developers will also want their fair share of the profits from online play.

That's not "next"; that's now. See EverQuest, Final Fantasy XI, World of Warcraft, and any other subscription MMO game.

What happened to paying $20-$30 for a game

That was the NES lockout chip and related mechanisms to artificially inflate the cost of developing for a dedicated video game console.

with multiplayer

That was 350p. In the 1980s, computer gaming moved from 8-bit microcomputers, which had a composite video output, to 16-bit microcomputers such as IBM PC and Macintosh, most of which forwent 240p or 288p SDTV output in favor of a 350-line signal to improve picture detail. So for the next two decades, monitors capable of displaying the 350p to 1024p resolutions of computers tended to be either sized for one person or cost-prohibitive for home use. In any case, even though PCs gained USB ports for easy connection of multiple gamepads in 1998, it wasn't common for PCs to be connected to TVs and used as if they were consoles. This ended in the mid-2000s, when LCD HDTVs capable of displaying resolutions up to 1080p pushed CRT SDTVs out of showrooms.

And if you're talking about online multiplayer, not just the sort of local multiplayer seen in Bomberman or a fighting game, there are still plenty of free-to-play online PC games.

Re:What? (1, Troll)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420946)

How dare Microsoft charge for hosting all those servers... they should do it for free!!! Profit? Expenses? Who care, they should make it free for me!!! If they don't make it free I wont give them my moneyz!!! **although if they make it free i sort of wont give them my money either**

You don't get anything for sucking up to MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421426)

How dare Microsoft charge for hosting all those servers... they should do it for free!!! Profit? Expenses? Who care, they should make it free for me!!! If they don't make it free I wont give them my moneyz!!! **although if they make it free i sort of wont give them my money either**

Why are you apologizing for them?

Sarah Friar, a Goldman Sachs analyst, estimated that Xbox Live has gross margins of about 65 percent, far better than the margins on physical consoles.

Gross revenues for Xbox Live topped $1 billion last fiscal year ending July 31 FYI.

The Price of Lock-In (1, Troll)

smist08 (1059006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420406)

I guess they feel they've gotten enough people locked-in that they can start squeezing the juice out of them. It's why people like to choose an open internet over single vendor proprietary locked in platforms.

Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420408)

I have an xbox and i buy 2-3 games and 4-6 xbl games pr year. And as a casual gamer that fires up the Xbox once to twice pr year, I am not even going to pay the old price. If anything I have been using the Xbox less because my friends dont want to pay for it either with the little spare time they have for gaming.

Greedy (5, Interesting)

Necreia (954727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420434)

Live is a portal that provides the following:
- Targeted Advertising, which makes Microsoft money
- Media purchasing avenue (Games, Videos, Add-ons, etc), which makes Microsoft money
- Multiplayer functionality around games which make Microsoft Money
- Subscription Fee, which makes Microsoft money

Only cost that has no/little return is from people who play multilayer constantly and somehow avoids seeing any of the advertisements.

This is really just a profit grab. I can't really blame them since they don't have to compete with anyone for their existing install base, but it does irk me.

Re:Greedy (3, Interesting)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420596)

Don't forget they phased out Xbox originals support on XBL. So they slashed features and now they're charging more? PSN is looking more appetizing to me now.

Re:Greedy (3, Informative)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421340)

Just wait, the next rash of games on PSN and they will start requiring a Plus membership in order to play online. Sony arbitrarily yanked OtherOS, I don't put a whole lot of stock in their assurances that they would never, ever, pinky-swear-we-wouldn't, require a plus membership for playing online.

For some reason I get the feeling this is going to crop up around the time I go to buy the next Gran Turismo (though I'm really not all that interested in playing it multiplayer anyway, so whatever).

Re:Greedy (3, Insightful)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420608)

And how many multiplayer games are hosted by one of the player's consoles, rather than a Microsoft server? I haven't played all that many XBL games, admittedly, but only one of them was not hosted on a 360 in the match.

Re:Greedy (4, Insightful)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420724)

Yeah, seriously. You forgot things like Netflix, which requires a live subscription AND a Netflix subscription.

At least when they had 1v100 I felt like I was getting a little value add, but now it just seems like a ripoff. I wonder how many people will actually pay $60 though. When the price was $50, the subscription cards periodically went on sale for $35 - $40. I wonder if the sale price will go up too. I think I'm good until around March, which means I'll have to renew to play Gears 3, *groan*

When live first came out it was a great thing. No one else had that level of seemless match making, game joining, friends list, etc. But now the PC has things like Steam and XFire *for free* so Live just seems like a rip off.

Re:Greedy (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421450)

I can routinely find cards online for 35$ so I don't know if it is a sale.

Though I might buy a few just in case the price fluctuates a bit too much.

That said the value add is mostly worth the purchase cost when compared to something such as Sony's current offering.

I have always scratched my head at why Microsoft attempts to limit it's own audience. While I have no figures I would assume there is a healthy number of users who are happy to purchase DLC, avatar bling and movies. I know I have purchased a few small games in the past year alone.

In any event, as long as the market will hold they will try to squeeze every penny.

Re:Greedy (1, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420844)

Let's get one thing Straight: Xbox Live Silver is free. 1 lifetime Silver account comes with your XBox. With that, you get

- Media purchasing avenue (Games, Videos, Music, Add-ons, Themes, etc)
- Chat with friends online and a way to compare achievements easily
- Some Basic Features, such as free demos, Xbox News updates, Facebook, etc

With A Gold Membership, the only thing you really pay for is the Multiplayer Functionality. At 60 dollars for 12 months, that's 5 bucks a month. In comparison, lets say going to the movies costs you 10 dollars and lasts 2 hours. In order to be more ripped off by X-Box Live than you do going to the movie theatre once a month, you have to use live for 1 hour or less every 2 months.

Re:Greedy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421236)

Thats $5 a month more than everyone else.

PSN free
Wii free
PC free

Xbox... whoops M$ ripoff gouging here we come... Mind you it took long enough to make silver the default free offering.

Re:Greedy (1)

kcitren (72383) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421252)

The key thing the Gold membership give me is Netflix to the XBox. That's the only reason I have the Gold subscription. Yes, I know I can use another player that has no monthly/yearly fee [I have a Roku in another room. Great device], but I'd rather not have to add yet another device to the system.

Re:Greedy (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421394)

Why compare it with something unrelated (going to the movies) when you can compare it to the competition. Neither Sony, Nintendo or PC games make you pay to play online.

Re:Greedy (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420924)

I can't really blame them since they don't have to compete with anyone for their existing install base,

Are you kidding? PC gaming, Steam, PSN and even the Wii are all free to play online, not to mention handhelds. In effect, even their own Xbox offline play titles are competing against the $60 play online tax.

The Live subscription fee might have made sense in 2003 when online multiplayer was still a novel feature for most players, but as the years go by its becoming more and more difficult to justify paying more for a service everyone else is giving away for free. Indeed, if it weren't for the 30ms ping limits, the XLink Kai crowd would be out-competing MS on their own console. And frankly, the blatant commercialisation of the service even after payment simply adds insult to injury. I'm unable to see the justification for _any_ multiplayer fee, let alone an increase in one as expensive as a Gold account.

The single biggest problem with the Xbox has always been Microsoft's backwards attitude to online play, and increasing this fee in these tougher times is going a step too far in my opinion. I wouldn't be surprised if this move precipitated a sharp decline in Live subscriptions. It's not a good time to release a multiplayer title on the Xbox right now.

Re:Greedy (1)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420950)

In the same vein they also have absurd markups on their hard drives. Considering all you can put on the drives is shit you buy from them, you'd think they'd be eager to give them away.

Re:Greedy (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420996)

Well, it's $5 a month. Lots of people spend about that at Starbucks every *day* of the week, so I don't it's really a show-stopper price...

Cost vs Service (1, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420448)

Why is Microsoft increasing the price when service is going downhill? Is Xbox live -really- that enjoyable for anyone? In my experience its filled with 12 year old kids who just call you gay the entire match, team-killing assholes, most games have a pretty crappy skill matching system meaning the learning curve is high and older players get frustrated, etc.

I'm not seeing why Xbox live costs as much as it does now, let alone why there would be a price increase.

And really, MS shouldn't give Sony a foothold in this area because the PS3 can keep on kicking long after the 360 has been "maxed out"

Re:Cost vs Service (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420506)

Halo is about to come out. That's why the big push to either get people to up for a year or pay 60/month to play Halo with friends for a few months.

No Ads? (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420504)

So now that they're increasing the cost, they'll allow me to turn off all paid-for-by-ad content, right? Guys? .... guys?

Re:No Ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420832)

I could understand paying a monthly/annual subscription to play online....

IF THE DAMN GAMES WEREN'T 60 FUCKING DOLLARS TO START WITH.

then add adverts all over the place... NO WAY, sorry, I'm out.

Dear Microsoft:

You're charging absurd amounts of money for the games, now you raise rates on online services... PICK ONE OR THE OTHER, don't fuck us over using two different orifices, one is plenty and leaves us sore and raw the way it is.

Joe Gamer
(Wishing he could sit down comfortably)

Sony screwing their customers? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420574)

What exact value is XBL Gold giving anyway? It's totally bizarre.

BOOM! Moneyshot! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420584)

iaits

One of the reasons I bought a PS3 (4, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420600)

The final decision that tipped me toward the PS3 and away from the Xbox360 was the fact that playing online games on the PS3 is free. I hadn't even considered the fact that Microsoft would eventually increase the fee for their service.

Re:One of the reasons I bought a PS3 (2, Funny)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421038)

Add in that the Nintendo Wii does the same as the PS3, and this makes the XBox Live price increase ludicrously laughable. I just shake my head and laugh whenever someone asks me why I don't have an XBox after I tell them I don't.

Re:One of the reasons I bought a PS3 (1)

BigSes (1623417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421272)

Not trying to flamebait you, but as a Wii and PS3 owner, the Wii sucks for online multiplayer gaming. Friend codes to do what? Keep rapists away? If they went with the PS3 model of matchmaking and let the risk on the consumer, it would have been great with all of the Wii games out there. Super Smash Bros Melee with PSN would have made it an even bigger hit. Love the system, hate the setup.

Re:One of the reasons I bought a PS3 (1)

partyguerrilla (1597357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421060)

On one hand, the Playstation Network is free for all, which is usually nice. On the other, the servers are maintained by the publishers and they can pull the plug any time, leaving games without the online component. It sucks to pay for Xbox live and it sucks to host the games using your xbox, but in popular games you're pretty much guaranteed to find a match. This is why PC gaming is superior imho.

Re:One of the reasons I bought a PS3 (1)

BigSes (1623417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421308)

To back you up...Tiger Woods 2010 most recently, since the 11 version has been released, 10 no longer offers the high value Play-the-Pros or Weekly online tournaments. If you want the trophy for 5 mill online earnings, the best you can do in a day is win shitty daily tourneys for less than 100k each. Therefore, if you want to platinum, good fucking luck. Dick move, but hey, they own the servers and I don't pay to be on them.

Re:One of the reasons I bought a PS3 (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421424)

The only PS3 game that I've played online so far is CoD:MW2. That game seems to put the hosting off on the client. It does not have a true dedicate server feature, but it does allow you to setup a private match. I'm still neutral about dedicated servers. I appreciate the community the arises around a dedicate server. On the other hand, the lack of a dedicated server doesn't bum me out (other than when I really want to play one specific map).

Screw it. (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420604)

For what I get out of XBL, $60 USD ain't worth it.

Especially when I can just log into Steam on my PC and play lots of fun games online for free.

Re:Screw it. (0, Flamebait)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421072)

I'm not sure who's brain is firing over at MS, but economy in the shitter. Mass unemployment, people using media as a form of escape. And instead of lowering the price and getting more(or return subs), they're increasing the price. Musta hired someone from Canada, or the UK.

It has to be.... (1)

BigSes (1623417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421228)

because of PSN beginning to charge for an upper tier service. Granted XBox Live was much more of an advertising package than the free PSN ever was, but, I always felt XBL offered better prices on games and DLC than the free PSN. Let us not forget that many DLC packages were available to XBL before PSN, not to mention some of the really great exclusive content and user created games. I think sometimes things just come with a price. To anyone out there upset, its still just $5 a month, not going to break the bank, and M$ is bound to give something for the added money.

As a caveat, I'm a happy PS3 fanboy and do not own a Xbox 360, but did own an original Xbox. I won't pay Sony for the "upgraded" PSN service, because standard is great for my needs and the benefits of upgrading don't seem to sell me. I've always been a bit jealous of XBL versus PSN. I do think XBL Gold is a better deal than the upgraded PSN package because of the early DLCs and access to exclusive titles (the new 2D Castlevania anyone)? I'd say if you love it, just drop the extra $1.20 a month.

The icon needs replacing (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421430)

With either a greased up Indian wrestling Ballmer, or a broken chair. I suspect Gates would have had all that gear implanted by now, he's got some spare change.

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