COG Considers: Don’t F*&# With The Money
In a near record-breaking turnaround, Xbox reversed their decision to change the price of Xbox Live Gold. “Change” here meaning they tried doubling the rates and people utterly lost their shit, as is only appropriate. Listen, guys: we’re like frogs, okay? If you’re going to boil us alive, you have to do so slowly. None of this cranking the dial to 11 and going out for a smoke, we’re more cognizant than that. But the reaction to this hilarious misstep is only half the story. No, what’s really interesting is that complaining en masse actually worked for once. All gamers do is bitch! We’re extremely good at it! So why was this time different?
The short answer is money, obviously. If people started unsubbing from the service, Microsoft employees would be getting sacked the very next day. Bonuses would deflate like balloons, heads would be on pikes in the front yard, the whole song and dance. But companies take big hits from customer backlash all the time. Hell, EA absorbs blows of this magnitude once a year, and they just kind of keep on truckin’, you know? So why did Microsoft respond so fast? Perhaps it has something to do with their most recent console launch.
Now, hear me out. If you, one of the three biggest game companies on Earth, release a new console, you’re gonna want games for that console. Ideally you want a half-dozen absolute bangers to drop around launch day. Microsoft had a bustling crop of zero launch exclusives last November. This meant that their online services, their game passes and their Xbox lives, were suddenly very important. If people stop buying access to their digital catalog and their multiplayer service, there’s nothing else ‘Xbox’ to spend your money on. The good ship Series X is basically three wooden planks and a bedsheet at this point. I’m surprised they didn’t televise an intern being executed as penance. Microsoft needs consumer goodwill so badly right now, and they tried doubling the price of online multiplayer? Good God, why?
If nothing else, a hard lesson has been learned by Microsoft. Until the Series X has like, some actual games on it, the price for Xbox Live can’t go up even one percent. And even then, try a small increase first. Maybe an extra dollar a month! Netflix does it all the time, and we barely even notice.