By Jared Newman | Friday, March 6, 2009 at 12:33 pm
With video games, I’ve become accustomed to standardized prices. The exception is used games and dated titles, but most things cost the same no matter where you go. That hasn’t been the case lately with Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming service.
Earlier this year, discounts on Xbox Live subscriptions started popping up in stores and online. Toys R Us, Amazon, Best Buy and Buy.com were all peddling a 13-month membership cards for $30. That’s $20 less than what Microsoft charges for a year.
When all this was going down, I sent multiple e-mails to our Microsoft PR contact, asking what’s up. Specifically, I wanted to know whether Microsoft has any pull when it comes to these price drops, and whether we’ll ever see them go away. I never got an answer.
While those dirt-cheap deals have come and gone, Microsoft itself is now getting in on the act, offering $10 discounts to anyone who upgrades from a Silver subscription to Gold (the one that lets you play online). A company rep tells Joystiq that this is a “limited time” offer, but doesn’t specify when it will end.
Meanwhile, Amazon, Newegg.com and Buy.com are still offering discounts of roughly $10. Unlike Microsoft’s offer, existing Gold subscribers can use these cards to renew their memberships.
And so the million dollar question emerges: Does all of this indicate a permanent price drop for Xbox Live? Microsoft says no, but at least $50 isn’t the be-all end-all subscription price — for now, at least. If you’re looking to start or renew your membership, shop around first.