I received an email today from Xbox Live stating on November 1, 2010 the cost of their Gold service will increase. The month subscription will now cost $9.99, up two dollars. The three month will cost $24.99, up five dollars. The one year will increase to $59.99, 10 dollars higher then now. At least Xbox Live is having a sale on one year membership for $40.00 right now. What new services will be included and is it worth it?
What will the new features of Xbox Live Gold service be?
One of the new services will be ESPN on Xbox Live. You will be able to watch 3,500 on-demand sports events. In addition, members can vote in polls and play sports trivia. It will also be compatible with Kinect, the 360’s new motion control system. However, there is some fine print which you can read here.
Another new feature will be Hulu Plus. According to the email, members will be able have a customizable experience including Kinect navigation and Xbox Live parties. In addition to paying more for the Gold membership, you will also need to subscribe to Hulu Plus separately. Memberships are $10.00. This service doesn’t seem to be coming to the Xbox 360 until 2011.
I feel the biggest reason Gold membership is going up is because of Kinect. Kinect will be released November 4 and will cost $149.99. Beside playing games, Kinect will allow Gold members to video chat to friends right on their TV. Kinect will also feature hands free controls. There will be no traditional controllers and you will use your hands to navigate menus and features.
Is the new price of Xbox Live worth it?
If the only reason you use Xbox Live is to play games online, then no. In addition, services like Hulu Plus aren’t free with a Live Gold membership. The ESPN fine print is confusing and may not let everyone use it. Even if you don’t want Kinect, ESPN, or Hulu Plus, you’re still paying for the option to possibly use them in the future. This may seem like a rip off to gamers who just want to play. Although, the extra features may entice people to purchase the additional services once they go live.
While it seems unfair to gamers like me who primary use the Xbox 360 to play games, I’m interested in seeing what the future of the Xbox Live Gold membership brings. Hulu Plus is tempting as it may replace traditional cable service for users of the 360. But since Hulu won’t be rolling out until 2011 and I have no desire to watch sports or buy Kinect, I feel like I’m just paying more for something I already have.
email from Xbox Live