News

Xbox Live Gold Pricing Going Up In Six Countries, Tripling In South Africa

by Mike Futter on May 16, 2016 at 11:15 AM

Microsoft has confirmed to us that Xbox Live pricing is going up in six territories. The company says that it is making adjustments based on currency fluctuation.

Affected territories include Austria, Hungary, Israel, South Africa, Sweden, and Turkey. We were first made aware of this thanks to reader Lynley James, who shared the following information.

Click to enlarge.

"We occasionally update pricing in a given market to provide a balance of service and value, and in some instances, meet currency fluctuations within the region, and will be adjusting the price of Xbox Live Gold subscription in a small number of markets on June 20, 2016," a Microsoft representative told us via email. "We do so always keeping in mind that our goal is to offer our members the premium gaming and entertainment service at a fair price."

The current price of Xbox Live in that territory, R50 per month is equivalent to about $3.25. Pricing in the U.S. is $9.99 per month. The new monthly fee, R159 works out to about $10.33. The new yearly pricing in South Africa will be R979, or about $63 (against United Stats pricing of $59.99 per year).

Current pricing is as follows for the remaining territories. We do not yet have adjusted pricing for these countries, though we suspect they will be adjusted to convert approximately to USD fees ($9.99 per month).

  • Hungary: 2,000 Ft (Approximately $7.19 per month)
  • Israel: 37.99 ILS (Approximately $10.05 per month)
  • Sweden: 79 kr (Approximately $9.58 per month)
  • Turkey: 18.99 TL (Approximately $6.40 per month)

With regard to Austria, we are hoping to get clarification from Microsoft. That country uses the Euro, which seems like it would pose a problem.

While each European Union country has a different value added tax (VAT), ranging from 17 percent to 24 percent, which is included in the price and not added on top like sales tax is in the United States. The price in countries using the Euro seems standardized at €6.99, including Finland which has the highest Euro VAT at 24 percent. Austria's current VAT is 20 percent.

When asked for more information about how this will work, a Microsoft representative shared the following statement. "We believe this model suits the way our fans want to pay for Xbox Live Gold memberships in Austria," the representative told us. "We are always listening to customer feedback, but have nothing to share about other markets at this time."

Should we learn the specific new prices for these territories or how Microsoft plans to segment Austria with higher pricing, we’ll update.

Update: Microsoft has provided a follow-up statement about upcoming changes to Xbox Live pricing in Austria. "This is based on market rather than currency, and the new price in Austria aligns with other European markets," a Microsoft representative told us via email. "We occasionally update pricing to provide a balance of service and value. Xbox Live Gold codes are not region-locked. Customers may redeem any Xbox Live code regardless of where it was purchased."

While this is challenging to interpret without knowing how pricing is changing, there is good news here. Regardless of where you live, you can source Xbox Live Gold codes at a favorable exchange online.

Thanks to reader Lynley James for the news tip.

 

Our Take
Unfortunately, price adjustments based on currency end up hitting end-users in international territories hard. There’s no great way to communicate to people that they are suddenly going to paying more in their country, especially since many users don’t factor currency conversion into their budgets. This is necessary, but it isn’t great for anyone involved.