Microsoft announced yesterday that they will be increasing prices for Xbox Live. Starting November 1 of this year, one month will move from $7.99 to $9.99; three months will be increasing from $19.99 to $24.99; and a one-year membership will be changing from $49.99 to $59.99.
Of course, many people are foaming at the mouths about this and they have every reasons to in some respect. $60 for a year of online play is a lot of money and if you have more than one in a single household, like me, it can be crippling. I am looking at $240 a year.
Now Microsoft had also announced 'Family Packs' starting in November at $99 for 4 memberships. They haven't made an announcement on whether or not they will be increasing that price as well or if they have scrapped the idea altogether. I hope they haven't. I am willing to pay $120 for 4 if I have to.
Microsoft hasn't stated exactly why the increase but they are quick to point out the fact Xbox Live offers Netflix streaming, Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm. They are going to add a video chat with the Kinect, Hulu Plus and ESPN.
Okay, sounds cool, right? On the surface, yes. But let's take a closer look.
Facebook: How many people actually access it through XBL? Honestly, it isn't that great. You can only see limited items on XBL Facebook. You have always been able to access Facebook through the Playstation Network for free since it has an internet browser. The Wii has an internet browser also.
Twitter: Again, kind of a pain to use through XBL though not as bad as Facebook. Again, free through PSN and Wii.
Netflix: This is the same across the board, need to sign up to use.
Now Hulu Plus sounds good except, there is a $9 a month subscription fee for Hulu Plus according to their website. So raise XBL $10 and then add another $9?
Last.FM: Sorry I don't use this at all on XBL.
ESPN: Wow, not into sport so I don't even care for this option.
Video Kinect: I don't even have the Xbox Cam. I don't plan on buying the Kinect unit and my family and friends do not have Xbox 360s much less this so we can talk. I have Skype and that's good enough.
I like the idea someone had of having 3 membership tiers. Leave gold the way it is and have a platinum one with the new added features. Frankly, I don't think Xbox needed Facebook and Twitter. Get rid of those and try these though I seriously doubt Video Kinect will get used for much more beyond video mutual masturbation and exhibition, sort of like the Xbox Cam now.