Microsoft is breaking up the family, putting an end to Xbox Live Gold Family Packs
If you are currently enjoying the Xbox Live Gold Family Pack your days are numbered. Starting August 27, 2013 Microsoft will begin converting each activated account in the Family Pack to individual Xbox Live Gold memberships.
If you are planning on getting an Xbox One, this shouldn't be an issue with the new Home Gold feature that allows for the sharing of membership benefits. However, if you're sticking with the Xbox 360, it kinda sucks.
You see the Family Pack ran $99.99 annually and allowed for up to four accounts to tap into the Xbox Live Gold benefits. Where individual memberships run about $50 annually, the Family Pack could save a family up to $100 a year.
In addition you had activity monitoring reports with the Family Pack so you could keep tabs on the younger family members and if they needed Microsoft Points, you could transfer points to them from the primary account as needed. As a severance package, Microsoft will credit each converted Xbox Live Gold membership with three months credit to the remaining time on the membership's term (maximum 36 months).
The move may force some to make the jump to the Xbox One and while that may save on the cost of the Xbox Live Gold memberships, the cost of buying multiple consoles will be a sticking point. One can only hope that eventually Microsoft will offer bulk discount on Xbox Live Gold memberships for families not planning on making the move to the Xbox One.
Otherwise, you may see a sudden drop in Xbox Live Gold memberships simply because families can't afford the extra $50-100. You can read all the FAQ's on this conversion here at Xbox's support page.
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.