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EEDAR: Xbox LIVE price hike still "incredible value"

Microsoft adds $10 to annual Gold charge for US, UK, Canada and Mexico as of November

Microsoft will be increasing the pricing of some of its subscription packages for the Xbox LIVE Gold membership as of 1 November, affecting only the US, UK, Canada and Mexico.

The rises are the first to be put in place since Microsoft launched the Xbox LIVE service in 2002, and follow closely on the heels of Sony's launch of its premium PlayStation Plus service. Not all subscription packages are affected, with only the single monthly subscription increasing in the UK.

Microsoft's Larry Hryb revealed the changes yesterday: "Since launching Xbox LIVE in 2002 we have continually added more content and entertainment experiences for our members, while keeping the price the same."

"We're confident that when the new pricing takes effect, an Xbox LIVE Gold membership will continue to offer the best value in the industry. "

Analysts at industry body EEDAR were unsurprised by the changes: "When originally launched in 2002, a Gold subscription cost the same as an AAA video game, $49.99. When taking into account for inflation ($50 in 2002 is roughly $60 in 2010) and the additional services available to Gold subscribers in 2010, such as ESPN, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Last.fm and Video Kinect, a $10 price increase still represents an incredible value to consumers"

"EEDAR data from our active consumer polls indicate 30 per cent of Xbox 360 consumers have played a video game online 15 times or more in the last 3 months, compared to 23 per cent for the PS3 and 10 per cent for the Wii.

"The data reinforces previous notions that the Xbox 360 consumer base is more core orientated and/or that consumers find great value in the Xbox Live service, despite the fact that Microsoft's competitors currently charge no subscription fees for online play."

"EEDAR does not believe the $10 price increase will fully affect current Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers until late 2011 and beyond, as Microsoft will likely run numerous promotions allowing users to renew at cheaper rates."

A full table of the changes follows, any plans which are not mentioned remain unaffected:

US Current US 1 November
1 monthGold: $7.99 1 month Gold: $9.99
3 month Gold: $19.99 1 month Gold: $24.99
12 month Gold $49.99 12 month Gold $59.99
UK Current UK 1 November
1 month Gold £4.99 1 month Gold £5.99
Canada Current Canada 1 November
1 month Gold $8.99 CAD 1 month Gold $9.99 CAD
Mexico Current Mexico 1 November
12 month Gold 499 Pesos 12 month Gold 599 Pesos
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Dan Pearson