Microsoft could turn Xbox Live into a free service for the first time since 2002. The company has stopped offering one-year subscriptions to its online gaming service, leaving only a three-month package. This has led to a lot of speculation that it could make the service be free when its next-gen console is released later this year.
The development comes as Microsoft invests more in the Game Pass Ultimate subscription service, recently announcing that its xCloud streaming gaming platform will be included at no extra cost. At $ 15 a month, Game Pass Ultimate offers access to over 100 games, and subscribers will be able to play games on the console, desktop, and mobile (for now, only on Android).
Game subscriptions are for the future
There would be no good reason to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold through the Ultimate Game Pass, which costs $ 5 more per month and includes access to Xbox Live. Microsoft clearly sees gaming subscriptions as the future for the Xbox, and it’s not surprising: if you want to keep playing, you have to keep paying. Microsoft would make a lot of money if it could switch the Xbox to a Netflix-style model, through which it develops a large list of titles, and people would renew their subscriptions every month.
The Google Stadia game streaming service has largely disappointed with a small catalog of indie games, for the most part, and title releases already available on other platforms. Sony has a similar service called PlayStation Now, which is a closer competitor to Microsoft because it also has access to Sony’s existing AAA range of games. It still has fewer titles than the Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft maybe wants to fix its mistakes
Microsoft struggled to compete with Sony when it launched the Xbox One in 2013, as it tried to do too many things at once and didn’t focus enough on games (it cost even more than the PS4). The company seems to understand the message with the next generation, as it conveyed most of its message during the launch of the Xbox Series X on games.