Geek Revolt

Let’s Be Honest, Xbox Live Gold Has Become a Huge Ripoff

Xbox Live didn’t have any real competition when it hit the scene. PlayStation Network wasn’t around and online gaming was the last thing on Nintendo’s mind. Sure, a decent amount of PS2 games worked online and the GameCube had games like Phantasy Star Online, but both consoles lacked a unified online service.

Fast-forward 10 years later — we have PSN and the recently launched Nintendo Network. These services let you play games online, use Netflix, watch videos on YouTube, and connect with people on your friends list. It’s free to connect to these services through your console provided you have an Internet connection and a Netflix subscription.

This isn’t true for Xbox Live Gold; Microsoft still wants you to pay to use these features on their console. Maybe someone should tell them that it’s no longer 2005 and that Xbox Live Gold is a rip-off in its current state. Oh wait…

Charging money to play online no longer makes sense when every console, handheld, smartphone, and tablet does it for free. But Microsoft continues to place a barrier between gamers and services they’re already paying for. Here’s what they’re basically saying to gamers. “You pay for Internet service, so what. You’re giving Netflix $7.99 a month, who cares. You just paid $63 for a new game with a ton of online features, all right. Well, if you want to use these things on your Xbox 360 – you owe us $60 a year.”

The service lost its value when online console gaming became the norm. It’s no longer a big deal, everyone is doing it and they’re doing it for free. And then they have the nerve to place ads all over your dashboard. If this isn’t pure greed then please tell me what is. But the amazing thing is gamers keep coming back for more punishment– like a masochist groveling at the feet of his abusive mistress.

I’ve often wondered, why? Why do we continue to pay for Xbox Live Gold? Is it because it’s better than the competition? Or is it brand loyalty? It’s probably a mix of both, but I think it’s mainly because we’re so use to paying for it. It’s a normal fee for Xbox 360 owners. So we rarely stop and think about what we’re paying for. Now all of this could change if another company adopted a similar business model.

Imagine if Apple charged you $60 a year to connect to the Appstore, play games online, and to use Safari on your iPhone (if you’re an Android user replace Apple’s products/services with Google ones). Oh and they’re going to throw a few ads on your lock screen, plus you still have to pay your cellular provider. Does that sound like something you want to be apart of?

Xbox Live Gold needs to morph into something like PS Plus. Remove the ads and make it a service that gives you better discounts, exclusive content, and free games. Online gaming, apps, demos, and Kinect video chat should move to the free version. Meanwhile Microsoft could raise the price of the gold version to make up for some of the money they’ll lose. If gamers are willing to pay $60 a year for something that should be free they’ll pay $80 for monthly discounts, free games, and exclusive content.

This may be hard to believe, but the Wii U’s online services were the catalyst for this post (stop laughing). The console just launched, but it already has a good amount of online features that are free of charge. Sure it isn’t as polished as Xbox Live or PSN, but there aren’t any extra fees to use YouTube, Netflix. Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Miiverse, or Wii U Chat. You can do most of this on the PS3 too, but Miiverse is what really made me say – why am I paying for Xbox Live Gold? This may sound like hyperbole, but in it’s short lifespan Miiverse has already proved more useful than any of Xbox Live’s features.

Connecting with other Wii U owners is easy. You can hop into a game’s community and ask if it’s any good or get help with a boss fight. It’s a social network, a place to troubleshoot problems with your console, and best of all it’s free.

Nintendo and Sony’s online offerings are only going to get better. Microsoft will get left behind if they continue charging for basic online features. Hardcore gamers may not make a purchasing decision based on which console provides free online services, but the same can’t be said about casual ones. Which console would you go with if you just wanted to stream Netflix and play a few games? Microsoft wants to rule the living room, making Xbox Live’s most important features free will put them one step closer to achieving their goal.

I'm DeShaun Zollicoffer, and I approve this message/bio. "26-years-old, Proud Northeast Ohioan, a Gamer Without Loyalties, an Equal Opportunity Offender, Apple Evangelist, Apple Hater, Music Lover, Anime Junkie, Little Monster, Frequent Flyer, Dexter Fanatic, Title Case Addict, and Geek Revolt's Founder and Editorial Director."
  • http://www.facebook.com/Destrizzle Destry Lance Pridmore

    $60 a year isn’t punishment. And because of the mass amount of newly created accounts, names taken, and inactive accounts I think it’s better this way. $60 a year isn’t even bad, If minimum wage in Ontario for example is 10.25 and you spend more then 6 hours a year on Xbox Live then you’ve warranted that purchase. Just my opinion.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      I should have added this to the article. The money isn’t the issue, it’s just the principle. You know — why charge for something that’s free everywhere else? Say your friend borrows $20 and never gives it back, or even mentions it. It’s only $20 so you really don’t care about it, but you may be pissed because your friend is acting like you never gave it to him. You feel like he’s trying to take advantage of your kindness — that’s what’s going on here. It’s not the money, it’s the principle.

      Oh and I forgot, you’re friend is also crazy rich.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Destrizzle Destry Lance Pridmore

        But that’s not a give/take situation, just a give one. Though I understand your reasoning, It’s just there must be a reason for the charging, like I said, gamertags are getting harder and harder to create since there’s no symbols or underscores like the PS3 rendition. To each their own though, I never look at the ads, Netflix and Xbox are separate so why would that come into the picture? You don’t think you should get a car free just because you have a licence right?

        • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

          It shouldn’t come in the picture, meaning it shouldn’t be locked to Xbox Live Gold members. The same goes for YouTube and other third party apps. I’m not sure if you were agreeing or disagreeing with me.

          Just to be clear, though, I’m not talking about paying for Netflix, I’m talking about paying Microsoft to use Netflix on your Xbox 360. No other platform does that, all of them have free Netflix apps and you only have to pay Netflix.

          When I bought my slim Xbox 360 it had a Netflix logo on the box. Microsoft is using it as a way to get people to sign up for gold. So they’re profiting off of other companies services. Do you not see the problem here?

        • nyshotgun05

          You can get a free car in a different country?

      • XavierLeromeLangham

        i have to admit this comment had me rollin

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Abbey-Arletto/100000939347809 Abbey Arletto

      A year’s worth of XBL Gold is $85 in several european countries, who can’t even get the full benefit of services like Netflix, HULU etc. It’s a complete ripoff.

      • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

        Yikes. You’d think Microsoft would cut the price since you guys aren’t getting all the “features”.

    • Jeremy Mullins

      how

  • Shatter Shatter

    I switched to PC because the games and live are overpriced and the graphics are horrid. If I bought all the games I had for xbox + a $300 xbox + live for like 3 years I would have paid 3x-4x more than I have on pc and not have been anywhere near as happy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=626348476 Orochimaru Sama

      How can you know that? :) You can’t see the future :-p

      • https://twitter.com/#!/SplashdownTiger STiger

        Do you know ANYTHING about Steam? Are you really this ignorant?

    • http://twitter.com/tbiz33 thomas

      as far a value… steam >psn> live.

      I enjoy the unlimited free cloud saving on steam..

      • closingracer

        LOL psn > live? Steam > live > Wii u online w/e it is > Wii online > xbox 1 > Then ps3…. the psn is horribly bad. Takes me about a whole day or 2 to download 12 GB while on my xbox 360 will do that in about 30 min to 1 hour and until Sony ADDS a FREE ( cheapo one it don’t matter) headset XBL will be miles and miles ahead of PSN ( I own a ps3 and I hate PSN… the ps3 itself has wonderful exclusives like the uncharted series which I love)

      • XavierLeromeLangham

        i’m american and i can tell you i want nothing to do with adds. oh and one more thing that’s a rather general statement for a whole country of people seeing as though live i basically the same all around the world smh

    • closingracer

      While PC gaming is probably optimal there is one issue there… your Top of the line Computer becomes middleware by 1-3 years and at least ps3 or xbox I know I am getting the same experience as the guy half away across the world from me…

      • http://www.facebook.com/rmsublime12 Ronald Thomas McGrath

        Not totally true. I’ve had my PC since 2009. Aside from updating my graphics card I’ve found no need to upgrade.

        If you’re trying to run games all bells and whistles on the biggest monitor there is, of course you’ll need to stay on your game with hardware updates.

  • http://geekrevolt.com/author/fallguysoldier/ Edgar Ocampo

    I definitely agree with you, DeShaun. And I have to commend you for talking about a fairly controversial topic. You got balls man, you got balls lol.

    In my opinion, the only redeemable aspect to Xbox Live is its interface since it actually looks and navigates better than the PSN’s.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Thanks Edgar! I like Xbox Live’s UI too, and I think it’s a good service I just don’t think Microsoft should be charging for stuff like online play and basic apps :)

      Hopefully they at least make online play free next generation.

      • http://geekrevolt.com/author/fallguysoldier/ Edgar Ocampo

        Although, I do have to admit that the new look for the PSN is actually on-par (if not better) than the one on Xbox Live now. Only reason why I didn’t know about this sooner was because I haven’t actually logged onto the Playstation Store nor update the firmware in months! I just did these things right now lol!

    • closingracer

      To point a simple fact if your paying 60 a year for live then your doing it wrong… you can find 1yr live on Amazon for straight up 50 dollars and you can also find it cheaper legally elsewhere ( I paid 30 for my current year of Xbl) and meh I always prefer my xbox over my ps3… load times are horrible on it for multiplatform games and using the r1 and r2 for shooting in shooting games feels awkward and switching them is even worse

      • http://geekrevolt.com/author/fallguysoldier/ Edgar Ocampo

        Well, to each his own, but personally I’ve never had a problem with load times in PS3 games. The most I’ve had to wait for something was 10 seconds, and I think even mentioned that on one of my reviews, the Splatterhouse remake, which was the only one that annoyed me thus far. But either way, a load time is a load time, and some are just long enough for a bathroom break or a very quick stretch, which you kinda need during long gaming sessions anyway.

        As far as buttons are concerned, there are 3rd party controllers that use a similar Xbox design for those players used to it. Alternatively, you can install those snap-ons for the triggers and/or analog sticks, which I personally use and they’ve helped me tremendously for shooters.

        FYI, I may sound like a fanboy of the PS3, but I’m not. I actually do own an Xbox 360 as well with just about the same amount of games as my PS3. It’s just that I can see the pros and cons to both and honestly, in my opinion, most of the arguments people make these days in the console wars all boil down to personal tastes and nitpicks. I’ve yet to see anything truly valid worthy of delivering a blow to the other. It’s not like we’re comparing Xbox to the (original) Wii, which offer clear distinctive differences.

        • XavierLeromeLangham

          that’s what i always say i have both consoles but i prefer my ps3 controller over the 360 one it’s rather bit don’t you think lol

  • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

    Now that sucks big time. And that’s true, a lot of people use it because their friends are on Xbox Live. I’m not suggesting people stop using it. It’s far to embedded in our gaming culture, but I do feel that Microsoft is being greedy at this point. So this post came out of frustration — it isn’t a call to arms :)

  • Jdrm03

    I can agree, but if you have any sense at all about being more then just a run of the mill consumer, I mean, simply going to slickdeals.net, you can score xbox live year subs for $35 pretty regularly.

    If people are schmucks and just pay full price because they aren’t taking a few minutes to search the net for something cheaper, they deserve to get ripped off.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Again, it’s not really about the price.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=626348476 Orochimaru Sama

    I how done the same thing :) Been in a xbox live party while play on my ps3 :)

    There are a lot of good offers on PSN+ but when it comes to playing games with your friends, PSN Sucks monkey fuck.

    • http://geekrevolt.com/author/fallguysoldier/ Edgar Ocampo

      There are a few factors involved that could lead anyone to believe the PSN is worse than Xbox Live in terms of connectivity.

      For one thing, the network between players varies from ISP to ISP, and obviously those with higher ping will have adverse effects to those with lower ping. This is especially true during player-hosted multiplayer matches as opposed to matches running on dedicated servers.

      Secondly, there’s the netcode (and its issues) that the developers themselves have to look into. Some are better optimized than others.

      Third, older Playstations (unfortunately) have a hard time supporting higher Internet speeds. For example, my big fat 80GB PS3 only supports about 5 Mbps on average (though sometimes I’m lucky to break past the 10 Mbps cap), despite having a wired connection on a 40 Mbps line. I know it’s my PS3 that’s the culprit because if I simply reconnect that wire over to my PC and do a connection test, I always reach full speeds. That said, it has nothing to do with Xbox Live being better than PSN.

      • closingracer

        umm I have a slim and its 10 times slower then my Xbox and I have a 20 MBPS download speed in the US…

        • http://geekrevolt.com/author/fallguysoldier/ Edgar Ocampo

          Strange, my sister’s PS3 slim achieves better speeds than my old fat one. Then again, we’re all on that 40 Mbps line, but I’m sure hardware still has something to do with it (i.e. embedded network card).

  • http://twitter.com/candysnow Tonisha Adamson

    I knew it was a ripoff from the beginning. That’s why I game on the PS3.

  • http://twitter.com/tbiz33 thomas

    wow..get a ps4 bro..

    • XavierLeromeLangham

      wow…. bro ps4 is not real lmao

  • http://twitter.com/likeapresident Barack Obama

    I pay $60 too, but what bites the most about Xbox Live Gold, is Microsoft recent release of SmartGlass, which they promised that it would allow users to use the devices they already have to access Xbox LIVE services. But in the end they only released the app to their new Surface tablet, Windows PC, and iPad, leaving the Android tablet users.

    • http://twitter.com/d21lewis Tim Lewis

      Try it now. Even my Android phone has the SmartGlass app.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      It only works with Dance Central 3. I’d love to see it work with all of their games going forward.

    • Jeremy Mullins

      I was an xbox guy for over 10 years and was a big fanboy… but I wised up and bought a ps3 about a year and a half ago and I have not looked back… I will never pay to play games that I already paid for. When I got my ps3 I got Plus, sense they was giving me so many free games I had to upgrade my HDD to 1 TB . Now I got over 100 games on my hdd just for paying 50 a year. sure if I quit plus I loose all the free games, but any game I buy evenif it is 75% off , I get to keep. Netflex is better on ps3 by far

  • http://twitter.com/Relengua Relengua

    Geekrevolt = flamebait, and the people are taking the bait. you get what you pay for, with PSN the service is free but the quality is shit. stop lying and posting flamebait articles or you are gonna have the same rep as HipHopGamer.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Really? I’m as bad as Hip Hop Gamer now? Come on… this article doesn’t say “PS4 Will Have Avatar Graphics, Uncharted 4 Will Blow Your Mind”

      Calling this as bad as anything HHG has produced shows you’ve never watched one of his videos. Take a look around the site and honestly tell me our quality is on par with his.

    • http://twitter.com/candysnow Tonisha Adamson

      PSN is shit? I bet you don’t have a PS3 to even say that. I get to play free on my PS3 and not have to worry about being nickeled and dimed. Can you say the same thing? No, you’re just upset because someone brought up a good point about XBL.

    • Kayoss860

      Really??? “Quality is shit”??? try telling that to 70millions of users. You talk as if Xbox live never had an issue with their service… I was an xbox live member and i had to be notified by email that my account has been jeopardized, and that i had to change my password. I did the same for the PSN when the PSN was hacked… so dont tell me that Live never had issues. PS3 was hacked, xbox 360 was hacked, PSN was hacked, Live was hacked, PS3 had hardware malfunction, xbox had hardware malfunction, PSN had online outages, Xbox had online outages… the list could go and it will point to the fact that whatever happened to PSN has happened to xbox live.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shaun-Conroy/527922302 Shaun Conroy

    I’ll never understand 360 owners. I have friends who, due to dodgy hardware, are on their third console and they continue paying for live gold. Meanwhile I’ve been playing for free online with my one ps3 for the past 5 years. Even better I just got Ps Plus and now have a whole bunch of FREE games on my ps3 and vita. It’s probably a mix of stupidity and habit, but I don’t think microsoft will get away with it it next generation.

    • Jdrm03

      stupidity and habit exist across the board. Don’t act like Sony doesn’t have a bunch ps3 owners that are just as stupid. All those people that buy into the hype that Sony spits out that all turns out to be lies. Ps2 doing toy story cgi graphics lmao? Ps3 doing 120 fps 4d games with dual screen support out of the box. Ps2’s shitty disc drives? People will work two jobs to buy the ps3?

      • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

        True. I didn’t write this article to bash Microsoft and paint Sony and Nintendo as gaming saviors. The truth is — all of them suck in one way or another.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Well the console has Halo and Gears of War. I’ve had a few die on me, but my need to own every console would never allow me to get rid of it. Plus some third party games work better on it.

  • Edd White

    Totally agree with your article. There is absolutely no added value in purchasing a subscription to Xbox live. You get nothing unless you pay. Fanboys always recount the voice chat stuf but if you are willing to pay for what is essentially a second rate VoIP where you can only talk to “friends” other than a true call anywhere in the world for free with a BB connection then you are either mad or a Microsoft employee.

  • http://twitter.com/d21lewis Tim Lewis

    Is anybody paying attention to Sony’s current financial status? God bless them for giving gamers the option for free to play console gaming but they could REALLY use the revenue right now. Call Xbox Live a con (and I have a Wii U and a PS3–I’m d21lewis on all three) but the Wii U’s online isn’t near its level and Sony’s status is so bad that there may never be a Playstation 4.

    As a business and not a charity, somebody is doing it right.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Ha-ha, well maybe Sony doesn’t believe in nickel and diming their customers. I feel like if anyone should be giving it away for free it should be Microsoft. Considering they really don’t need the money.

      And we all know a PS4 is coming, there’s already dev kits floating around.

  • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

    I’m not a PS+ subscriber, I just think the service is a better value than Xbox Live Gold. Everyone knows they’re basically renting the games.

  • Kayoss860

    Yes you are renting the game… but most people after finishing the game will just either resell it or have it collect dust. With PSN + you can finish playing the “rented” game and delete it and “rent” new ones. What ensentives does live give you beside party chat? So by your logic Party Chat is worth paying $60 a year and maybe a slightly better service?? There are somethings that MS does better than PSN but its not that much better and it does not warrant a $60 year membership. PSN+ can provide Most of what is offer on Live plus you get to “rent” games to play and better discounts….

    If it takes you 2 days to download a game then you must be using Dial up… I’ve download Uncharted 3 and it didnt take me a whole day to do it. We all know uncharted is a big game.

    • closingracer

      Who pays 60 dollars a year for live I sure don’t … Even if your lazy amazon Sells a year for 50 dollars which is still cheaper then 60 per year. I pay like 30 per year for it and ill glady pay for faster downloads and No lag ( took me like 2 days to download that MMO that became Free to play)

  • Kayoss860

    Do you know the terms “people have choice”??? Sony can put all kind of stuff out there but its up to the consumer to decide if they want to buy it or not. No one is making them buy it. Its like with Xbox Live people have the choice to pay for a service that should be free. You make a list of whats wrong with Sony but that list also applies to Xbox. Have fun paying for internet, Netflix, games, and of course have fun paying for xbox live just to use what you’ve already paid for… Who is a fanboy now? We might be fanboys (I own both console) but we are not stupid like you and waste money and pay double for things that you should get for free.

  • cusman

    XBL is no longer sustainable in my view as a paid subscription service. They just don’t offer enough distinguishing value add compared to Steam, PSN, or even the new Nintendo Network which are all free. Furthermore, XBL complicates the user experience in the living room because if there are multiple users, then to use Netflix, they have to use a particular user’s account which has XBL Gold. Or they have to be stupid and pay $100 per year for XBL Gold Family to get XBL online capabilities for up to 4 users.

    XBL requires Gold to access Netflix? That uses your ISP bandwidth and service from Netflix and has nothing to do with XBL services. Same for Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, etc.

    Also, most big multiplayer games nowadays like Call of Duty have their own server infrastructure, so again what are people paying XBL for?

    Unless XBL Gold starts offering the kind of perks that PS+ offers for PSN users, it is the worst value in gaming. PS+ on other hand is best value in gaming.

    Actually online connectivity just needs to be free.

    • AdrianHD

      Offering the perks of PS+? Xbox Live gets weekly deals. The problem still with PS+ is that you’re not offered to pick. You can still own a bunch of the content it gives you. It’s neat, sure. But it’s not the be all end all. The best value in gaming would GIVE you that content instead of forcing you to pay monthly to keep it around.

      As for your servers, they are kept up. Microsoft will be keeping up the servers as long as they have them. Sony still will shut down stuff.

      I still pay for it because it provides me a fast and easy hub for me to connect with friends and play games. That’s all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Camkoda Cameron Brewer

      1v1 me cunt.

  • XavierLeromeLangham

    MAN you have my full respect on the real

  • XavierLeromeLangham

    well aren’t you Psychic who died and made you a economist

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felipe-Teixeira/100000325035727 Felipe Teixeira

    You will lost just the free games (that Xbox don’t give you, so what are you comparing to?), but any game that you bought on discount is yours.

  • James Lenoir

    Awesome write-up Deshaun, and I couldn’t have said it better.

  • Holonboy

    I stopped using my Xbox and got the PS3 for multiplats. Now I have the Wii U as well. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of the online games I play I could simply rebuy on the PS3 and I would still save money if I hadn’t purchased Xbox Live Gold from my first online game to now.

  • DeShaun Zollicoffer

    Not sure why comments are locked.

  • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

    This article has been getting a lot of views lately (not sure why) so I’m re-opening the comments. Fire away!

  • Magnus

    NICE! I just Microsoft points for free from this site! :D freemspointsforever com

  • http://www.facebook.com/ThePov Sean Polvinale

    I’m an Xbox 360 guy all the way, but you’re right. It needs to change.

  • Emerson Takahashi

    Microsoft hosts the servers used in Xbox Live. Sony lets every publisher deal with it.

    Depends on the publisher and game popularity to have a good experience. Sony is leaving more at the table with the PS3 and given their financial situation, they will start to charge for online gaming with PS World.

    This is the last year of whining because of this difference.

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Sony will have different subscription models, but they won’t charge for basic stuff like online gaming. It’ll be for PS Plus and Streaming.

  • maximo brito

    yeah, in america ALONE xbox has more sales. you got that right