While the news was being shouted from the rooftops of all tech and gaming blogs across the globe, it wasn’t like this was a big surprise. Many loyal Xbox 360 users continually said that they would pay $400 for an Xbox One and that they didn’t want a Kinect, an option not available at launch. So Microsoft heard those cries, and also noticed that they were being beaten by rival Sony’s PS4 nearly 4:3 in sales, so a new Xbox One was born.
The new Xbox will be released on June 9th, consequently the day that E3 festivities kick off in Los Angeles. The timing of the announcement has left some people wondering if Microsoft has left anything out with this new strategy. It was widely rumored that Microsoft would drop the price of the Xbox One sans the Kinect and that they may end up releasing a model with more internal memory, that is yet to be seen.
But with all the chatter about the pricing drop of the Xbox One, some really important, and good news, for Xbox One users almost went unnoticed.
First things first, Microsoft has announced that they will start issuing refunds for people who want to cancel their Xbox Live Gold membership. Customers will be able to get a credit for the time they did not use the service. The purchase of an Xbox Live Gold membership wasn’t required to buy the Xbox One but many online and streaming features required the Gold membership, multiplayer gaming still does.
Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube were also protected behind the Xbox Live Gold membership when the console launched in November. CNet reports that this is no longer true. Any Xbox One user will be able to access those services without a Gold membership, provided they have an account for each corresponding service. Other premium services will also be free including access to Internet Explorer, OneGuide and Skype, a move definitely made to entice more customers. Although the price at launch was $499 for the system and Kinect, most felt a $560 price tag was more fair since most services, aside from strict game play, required that Xbox Live Gold membership.
Microsoft will still make the gold membership lucrative though, and if you’re into multiplayer gaming you still need it. Gold subscribers still have the “games with gold” program, cloud game saves, and game dvr. Microsoft is giving away a free Xbox 360 game in June to celebrate the one year anniversary of the “games with gold” service. The new “Deals with Gold” service will arrive in June for the Xbox One.
Sony will more than likely maintain their $399 price point for the PS4. They have a very solid lead at the moment and will probably capitalize on that lead by beefing up their library.