Microsoft has put an end to the $99.99 Xbox Live Gold Family Pack deal that gave subscribers four Xbox Live Gold accounts and access to the Family Center features, which allowed them to easily manage the accounts of family members and set allowances/restrictions on their children. Considering standard cost of four Gold accounts totals $240 (excluding any retailer sales), the cancellation of the Family Pack is unlikely to go unnoticed by the gamers who took advantage of it.
Instead of announcing that the Family Pack would no longer be offered, subscribers were left to discover the bad news on their own when the option to renew resulted in an error code. The company has since confirmed that the Xbox Live Gold Family Pack is no longer available for purchase, with the following statement:
“The Family Gold offer is no longer available for purchase. The Family Center experience with settings management, allowance granting, child activity reports & family subscriptions management are still available for current Family Gold members at this time. We continually evaluate our business focus and work to offer services that make the most sense for our customers and Xbox.”
It really is amazing that Microsoft is taking steps to make their Xbox Live Gold service even more expensive and inconvenient at a time when Sony’s PlayStation Plus premium service is excelling at providing an actual value. At some point, I have to think that decisions like this are going to end up blowing up in Microsoft’s face.
With my daughter being the only member of my house to currently have any need (or desire) for an Xbox Live Gold account, this will have no impact on me personally. Still, I do have friends who are not exactly going to be thrilled when they hear the news that the Xbox Live Gold Family Pack has been discontinued. I doubt it will be the straw that pushes them out of the Microsoft boat, but if this trend continues I could see them making a switch during the next generation.