I must admit I’m one of those people who only plays online on the Xbox 360 whenever Microsoft decides to open the service to everyone for a weekend. This happens two or three times a year and while it’s certainly a lot of fun, I realized that hiding this service to some players behind a pay wall doesn’t make any sense anymore. I feel like we’ve had this conversation again and again and a lot of people changed their minds about Xbox Live when Microsoft started including free games as part of Gold, but I think there’s something to be said about the state of subscription-based services such as Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus. With this in mind, I wrote some of the reasons why both Microsoft and its userbase would benefit from free multiplayer. Are you subscribed to Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus? What do you think about the services? Which one do you like best or which one do you think offers the best value? Feel free to share ideas in the comments below.
“Free Xbox Live” is a terrific bullet point
If Microsoft was to announce that you don’t need to pay to play online on Xbox platforms anymore, think about the reaction of the people at a trade show like E3. All the headlines and word of mouth would encourage sales of Xbox One platform and this would be one of those things that would make a lot of people choose the Xbox One over the PlayStation 4. Which leads me to my next point…
More people would buy Xbox One consoles
Sony and Microsoft have taking some extreme measures in order to sell more consoles, so making Xbox Live free would definitely push a lot of people to choose an Xbox One over the PS4. I avoided the Xbox 360 for years because, while I loved everything the console had to offer, playing online was an important part of the experience most games had to offer. Years later, when I found the console on sale I decided to buy it, but even then I stayed away from $60 Xbox Live Gold subscriptions because I didn’t want to pay for yet another service.
Xbox Live on PC is free
I know comparing the PC to a console is unfair since those ecosystems tend to be different (although it’s a matter of time before they become the same.) But taking into account that with the release of Windows 10 and the announcement of Microsoft that they are trying to make all their Windows 10 devices part of the same seamless ecosystem, making Xbox Live free on Xbox One would make a lot of sense.
There would be more people playing online
I often go back to games that came out a while ago and it’s disheartening to see that no one’s playing them anymore. If more people were playing online, it would be easier to team up with random people to play some of those games and this would definitely benefit the entire playerbase and Microsoft, since you would have a bunch of people using your console all the time.
Most people use their consoles for entertainment anyway
For years, analysts have stated that people use their consoles primarily to consume entertainment that’s delivered to them in the form of apps (YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, HBO GO and the list goes on and on.) Since only a fraction of the people who own consoles use them to play games, why not encourage them to try some games whenever they want? What would happen if someone who doesn’t plays a lot of video games but had an Xbox One tried Call of Duty multiplayer out of curiosity and loved it? I think you’d be giving that person more reasons to be on Xbox Live all the time.