In the top ten list of dumb gaming industry decisions, requiring a paid membership for PC gamers to access multiplayer in the earliest days of Games For Windows Live has to be near the first place spot. There was no way that PC gamers would pay $50 a year to fight against other Universe at War: Earth Assault players. Microsoft had to admit defeat and repealed the membership requirement in July 2008, but the damage was done. The pricing scheme flopped and left gamers wary of Microsoft’s foray into the PC gaming client space.
Never let it be said that Microsoft won’t learn from history. Why not revive the idea of paid Gold memberships for PC gamers, but this time make multiplayer free? After Microsoft showed off some neat Xbox Live stuff for Windows 10 at the recent press event, Mike Ybarra, the Partner Director of Program Management at Xbox, told Polygon that the company is looking at that very idea. Why would a PC player pay for Xbox Live Gold if multiplayer remains free?
“In terms of anything around the Gold program that we might bring to PC, we think there is a lot of value on the console with that above and beyond multiplayer.”
What else could Microsoft offer besides a PC version of the Games With Gold program? Although Microsoft declined to clarify their plans, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything else a PC gamer might find compelling enough to pay for in a Gold Xbox Live membership.