Midnight Rant: Why is Everyone Suddenly Surprised Xbox Live Costs Money?

Long story short, Xbox Live Gold is increasing their prices due to the inclusion of features like Hulu and ESPN, combined with seven years of quality service without any rise in cost. If you want the full story, Phillipe wrote up a great article with all of the details pertaining to the cost increase.

This isn't a rant on the particulars of the situation, and it's definitely not an analysis of Microsoft's (likely well thought out) reasons for increasing the price of Xbox Live Gold. This is me expressing my astonishment at thousands of gamers suddenly realizing they're paying for an online service, and how they're not going to take it anymore.

Here's the real situation, the important situation: Microsoft has been charging money for their online service for over seven years, a quality service with several well made social features that allow you to play games with your friends. Starting on November 1, with Xbox Live's price increase, this situation does not change. You'll wake up on November 1 and face the same question you've asked yourself for the past seven years: am I enjoying the service that Xbox Live provides enough that it's worth paying money for?

Then there are folk like this guy, who canceled his preorder for Halo: Reach to show how disappointed he is with Microsoft. Here are Dustin's thought on the whole situation:

"...the reason I canceled my Halo: Reach pre-order is because of the fact that I play maybe 2-3 games online on my Xbox 360 each year. Why should I have to pay to play online (let alone $60 a year to do so)?"

Yes, apparently Dustin was more than willing to pay for Halo: Reach and the $50 yearly subscription rate up until this morning. That 20% increase removed the veil from Dustin's eyes, though. Why should Dustin pay to have, "little kids light up the mics because their parents are pathetic?" Check out Dustin's article, it's full of little gems like that.

Unlike Dustin, I'm going to continue to subscribe to Xbox Live, because over the years I've had no regrets with it. A $10 per year price increase will not change the fact that Xbox Live is a quality service.  A $10 per year price increase will not make Xbox Live any more or less affordable than it already is. All that a $10 price increase does is give fanboys a talking point, an excuse to blow the situation out of proportion. Are you so ashamed of your hobby that you would drop it because it costs 83 addition cents a month? Is your hobby worth so little to you?

By all means, that's your decision to make. Just don't expect folk like me, who were comfortable spending the money before and will continue to be comfortable going forward, to sympathize when you give so little honest consideration to the hobby.

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