Microsoft's current policy of forcing Xbox Live Gold subscribers to make a phone call to cancel their accounts could be changing soon. A message on the Reddit site (via IStartedSomething.com) from an unnamed and unconfirmed Microsoft employee on the Xbox Live developer team claims that this policy could be changed sometime in 2012.
Having dealt with Microsoft's policy on canceling Xbox Live accounts on a personal basis, we can confirm that it is indeed a pain to get Microsoft to cancel an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Oh sure, you can purchase a Xbox Live Gold pre-paid card and make things easy but we suspect that a lot of people use their debit or credit cards to establish their accounts.
While Microsoft lets customers sign up new accounts via the Xbox 360 console or on the Xbox.com web site, there's no such easy way to shut that Xbox Live account down. The anonymous Microsoft employee claims in his Reddit post, "They figured people would either forget about their accounts and continue to pay, or that they could be swayed with discounts if they called to ask for it to be cancelled. Rest assured there are plenty of people at MS that agree that this attitude is bull****."
While we know that no company likes to lose accounts, there are also many reasons why people would choose to cancel subscriptions such as Xbox Live Gold services. This economy is awful for most people and having to pay to play multiplayer games online via the Xbox 360 console is just not in the budget for a lot of families.
The bottom line is that Microsoft needs to make it easier to cancel Xbox Liveaccounts. People are more likely to come back at some point if it is easy to cancel than if a company makes a customer jump through a lot of hoops to do the same thing.