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Friday, September 09, 2005
 Microsoft Updates Xbox Live Fee
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Message Text: Microsoft changed the subscription prices of its online multiplayer gaming service Xbox Live and said the service will be available in North America this holiday.

The Xbox will come with a Silver subscription to Microsoft's online community, which is free, and the Gold version.

Silver Xbox Live membership lets users connect to the online community and create their own digital identity with an Xbox Live gamertag and personalized gamer profile. Xbox Live Silver members will be able to send and receive text and voice messages and join their friends on Xbox Live. Xbox Live Marketplace is the one-stop download center for additional game-related content like free trailers and demos as well as content that adds more to games, such as new levels, characters, and weapons. Gamers can also purchase and download fun, casual, and highly addictive Xbox Live Arcade games directly to their Xbox 360 system (additional fees may apply; hard drive or memory unit required for downloads).

However, the free Silver subscription does not include multiplayer online gaming. To take advantage of such functionality Xbox 360 users must purchase an Xbox Live Gold membership, for $49.99 USD (12-month subscription). The Xbox Live Premium Gold Packs, which include the new Xbox 360 Headset, Xbox Live Arcade games, Microsoft Points for use in Xbox Live Marketplace, and mail-in rebates for up to $20 (U.S.) off any Xbox 360 game.

Xbox Live Gold also includes what Microsoft descibes as "exclusive privileges." A Premium Gold Pack, complete with Xbox 360 headset, will be sold in 3-month and 12-month options.

Three months of Xbox Live Gold costs $39.99 USD and includes 100 points for buying goods in the Xbox Marketplace. An annual subscription is priced at $69.99 USD and includes 200 Marketplace points. These prices are the same as the current Xbox Live offering.

Microsoft also today announced that credit cards will no longer be required to create an account on Xbox Live for Xbox 360, removing one of the biggest barriers to entry. Gamers can purchase 12-month Xbox Live subscription cards via cash or other payment methods at any participating retail store. Subscriptions will also be available for purchase by credit card in one-month, three-month and 12-month increments through the Xbox Live Dashboard.

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