/ Technology

Xbox LIVE – should we pay for online gaming?

Xbox 360 logo

Get ready to pay more for multiplayer gaming on your Xbox 360. Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE has been hailed by some as the pinnacle of online console gaming, but should we really have to pay to play online?

You’ve just splurged 200 quid on an Xbox 360 and spent another pretty penny on a bunch of multiplayer games. But when you want to take Halo ODST or Gears of War 2 for a spin online, you’re met with a charge.

You’ve already bought the console, the games, and pay a monthly fee for your broadband, so why should you have to pay a subscription to Microsoft for all of the Xbox 360’s online gubbins?

The issue has been around for years, but yesterday Microsoft announced an Xbox LIVE price hike. From 1 November, a one-month’s subscription to Xbox LIVE Gold will cost £5.99 instead of £4.99 in the UK. Unlike in the US, which will now cost an extra $10 a year, there’ll be no change to the UK’s yearly cost of £39.99.

Is Xbox LIVE still the best?

Xbox LIVE has been around for eight years, debuting on the original Xbox and later expanding onto the 360 in 2005. Most would agree that it revolutionised console gaming for good, putting online services right at the centre and forcing other gaming companies, like Sony and Nintendo, to push their own online offerings.

Sure, Microsoft’s service has long been ahead of the pack, but the gap between its competitors is closing. Sony offers its PlayStation Network to PlayStation 3 gamers for free – and with additions like trophies and cross-game text chat, Microsoft’s justification to charge is becoming very taut.

Of course, people will pay, because what other option do they have? But does it really offer value for money? Should you really have to pay to play a game you’ve already bought?

Shouldn’t online gaming be free?

I don’t really have much issue with paying for premium extras, but coughing up for online gaming itself seems like a cost too far. Especially when the service is still plastered with ads even when you do pay. You don’t get that with your BBC licence.

Sure, Microsoft has server costs to pay (not for the games themselves – most are peer-to-peer) but Sony gets by without charging (its new PlayStation Plus service still offers free online gaming) and PC gamers don’t have to pay either.

Why can’t online gaming be built into the cost of the game itself? Of course, you can buy your subscriptions when they’re on sale – but it’s the principle that counts. It’s a tax on gaming that you almost feel obliged to pay.

It’s also my view that if we didn’t have to pay for the service itself, we’d feel much happier to spend our cash on extras we actually want. At least, I know I would.

xbox360 cracks says:
22 August 2012

The business name is Xbox 360… John Xbox. ROFL

random says:
12 November 2012

Yes, I believe to play online should be free. However I think the reason it is not free, is so they can have quality games and quality online gamin. They also put ads where as some of ther money comes from,so gold is just another way for then to get more money in their pokets.

michael says:
20 November 2012

why should you pay for xbox live when you allready pay for sky netflix lovefilm and your internet porvider its about time we had it for free like ps3 and wii now

neil goode says:
9 April 2013

why not just go PC. you can buy your games in one of the many steam sales, download the game and then play it online with your friends. it has easy access to all of your games and there are many other features like steam workshop where you can share your own mods or download ones other people have made. maybe you want to chat to someone, you can use skype, or better yet use teamspeak where 32 people can talk with each-other over the internet whilst playing games, completely free. everything xbox live has for £40 a year is free on a PC.

Tony says:
5 October 2014

If online gaming is going to be compulsory in the near future, I’m going to destroy my 360 soon! Why should I pay a subscription to Microsoft for the privilege of playing their game AFTER I have paid good money buying their newest games? I am a casual gamer as time is limited for me to play, but I used to always buy the latest games, but not any more thanks to your stupid online only policy! And I almost bought an Xbox one lately, phew that would have been a mistake! This is just another con to see how much the corporate monsters can squeeze from us, well as the saying goes ‘ I’ve had enough and I’m not going to take it any more!’ lol. Goodbye Microsoft, it was fun while it lasted.

david says:
8 January 2017

My argument is the fact they force you to pay yet still allow aimbot and wallhack etc to thrive, reporting does nothing even with evidence so in effect they are not offering you a 100% service for the money

Thanks that’s great ideas for xbox games but the gaming laptops still the best

you sound like a nutter, sorry that just splurged out

FELIPE says:
30 January 2020

That sucks that we can’t even play online without paying. XBOX stop being a loser, dude

Microsoft plz make online gaming free coz some of us don’t hav the money to pay for memberships and it also pains us that our rival PlayStation offers free gameplay to fortnite while we still have to pay 😒

I don’t know why I have to really pay for online gaming because it is not so new or I mean like it’s very high technology or best graphics still love it but I mean if you are trying to go online (on old model)
you have to buy ethernet cable or xbox 360 wireless adapter and beside if you want to listen game sound there is to your headphones there is no such option maybe if it’s there I don’t know and if you want it to make the level of it to today you have to invest very much and after I brought wifi and ethernet cable I still don’t know why should I really have to pay and others like playstation and pc are free I mean there are such games that are not made for offline and to play in multiplayer you have to buy CD then also it is not so easy to go online and after you have connected it to internet it fells why I have invested in setup like headphone,ethernet cable and many things beside if you want to make your graphics good you have to buy hdmi cable