According to financial experts Wedbush Morgan, the price of an Xbox Live Gold subscription could double within a couple of years.
The US firm’s gaming research analyst Michael Pachter made his prediction on a recent episode of Gametrailers.com’s Bonus Round discussion show. Speaking about Microsoft’s ambitions for the future of the 360 and Xbox Live, Pachter said: “[Microsoft] wants to hook every gamer who has a 360 to play everything multiplayer, and pay 50 bucks a year; and then in a couple of years it’s 100 bucks. [The price] is going up, we all know that.”
At the moment, a UK Gold 12-month subscription card costs around £35-£40; this would rise to £70-£80 if Pachter’s forecast is proven correct. Xbox Live is a key component of Microsoft’s strategy for the Xbox 360, with Gold membership a necessity for gamers who want to play online. A free Silver membership allows messaging and other non-game functions. This May, Microsoft announced that Xbox Live had hit the 20 million users mark.
The service receives regular updates, and later this year will add Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm to its homepage. UK Gold subscribers will also be able to access Sky TV via their 360 as of October 27.
Microsoft is the only one of the three major console manufacturers to charge for online gaming, with Sony and Nintendo offering a completely free service on PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii and DS / DSi.