So. The PlayStation 3 lets people play games online and watch Netflix streaming for free. You run a competing console that charges for the same services. What do you do? You drop the price of your online service, offer it for free, or enhance your features to justify the price difference, right?
Well, in the words of Lex Luthor (as portrayed by Kevin Spacey)…
Instead you raise your prices without adding any features. Once again, for those of you who weren’t paying attention, Xbox Live is going to increase their prices starting this November. The service will then run $9.99 per month, $24.99 for three months, or $59.99 per year (up from $7.99, $19.99, or $49.99, respectively. All prices American.)
Major Nelson notes, “Since launching Xbox LIVE in 2002 we have continually added more content and entertainment experiences for our members, while keeping the price the same.” I’m guessing the content and entertainment experiences they’re talking about are Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix, the last of which is free on PSN. Also, for those of you looking for Microsoft’s angle here, notice that Microsoft does “want to thank our loyal members and give you the opportunity to lock in your current price with an additional discount, so now would be a good time to renew your subscription.” In other words, the ship’s sinking, so get out or start sleeping with the captain now.
I’ve skimmed all of Major Nelson’s commenters and have yet to see even one vaguely positive reaction. In the words of user dsgrce, “What a great idea, raise prices when developers are already starting to charge extra to play online! Absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!!!” Spelling and punctuation aside, it’s hard to argue his point; publishers are indeed charging extra for “online passes” for games that are purchased used. And asking those same people for more money while your competitors are offering strange, disconnected bonus content at a lower price is an odd choice.
Next week is PAX. If Microsoft announces some new Xbox Live feature, this might turn around. If Sony announces some new free PSN feature, then Microsoft might have just shot itself in the foot. Meanwhile, Nintendo (with their virtually nonexistent online plan) is too busy counting their money to comment.
[Via: Major Nelson]