At Microsoft’s press conference earlier this week at E3, they announced that XBox Live will be getting an extreme makeover, so to speak. The interface will have a much simpler arrangement, making all of the content much more accessible without fumbling through too many menus. The service will also see some changes with several services such as YouTube and Bing being added to the fold. The new XBox Live will also include the ability to watch live TV for the first time on the console. With all of this and more being added to XBox Live, will there be a price increase to the subscription?
I would find it hard to believe that XBox Live would continue to be $60 per year after what will be on the way. During Microsoft’s press conference, Marc Whitten, Corporate Vice President, XBox Live, stated that the number or partnerships to bring content into XBox Live will increase tenfold. YouTube and Bing, as well as live television, are just the start.
One of the big questions is just how much TV will be available on the XBox 360. If it were just the broadcast channels, it would come at minimal cost to the company and possibly not affect the pricing of XBox Live at all. But if Microsoft plans to bring in network television and maybe even premium channels such as HBO and Showtime, then there would have to be some kind of price increase.
Not to mention, Microsoft struck a deal with the UFC so that you can order fights on your 360 and watch them on there. In addition to that, there will be Kinect functionality where you can access stats for the fighters and predict the outcome of the fight with other people currently watching it. That alone would most likely cause the price to go up a little.
When all is said and done, I can’t imagine XBox Live to cost anything more than $100 after all of the content is added. That is quite a lot just to play online, but I think Microsoft will play this one wisely. The best way to handle this situation is to make the additional content a separate charge, so that people can opt for the $60 package they are all familiar with and for those who want that additional content, they would buy a different subscription that will have all of that included.
It’s a bit hard to say just how much content is coming to XBox Live, but it surely sounds like a lot. All of the content would warrant some sort of price increase, but it could turn off some loyal 360 fans. Making it a separate charge to those who want it would be a great convenience to those who simply want to play online and don’t care too much about everything else.