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By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft backpedals on Xbox Live Gold pricing, free-to-play games won't require subscription
by Usama Jawad
A few hours ago, Microsoft received massive backlash for increasing the price of its Xbox Live Gold program for new customers. It announced that the price of a one-month subscription is increasing by $1 to $10.99, and price of a three-month membership is increasing by $5 to $29.99, and a six-month membership is now $59.99 - which was previously the cost of its annual membership.
Following feedback from users of the service, Microsoft has now backpedaled on the decision.
In a statement on the original blog post, the firm has announced that it will not be implementing the new price model, and that the price of Xbox Live Gold membership will remain the same. It stated that:
A notable change coming to the program is that you will not require a subscription to play free-to-play games like Fortnite or Call of Duty: Warzone. This will make the service more in line with Sony's competing PlayStation Plus program. However, this modification to the program is not immediately available and Microsoft will be working to deliver it "in the coming months".
When Microsoft announced the new pricing model a few hours ago, many believed that it was designed to push gamers to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which is arguably a better value proposition, but at $14.99/month. However, the price hike was considered to be in bad optics considering that the company is not adding any new features to the service, and free-to-play games still require a premium membership unlike Sony's PlayStation Plus. With the subscription model now reverted to the original and now packing a major improvement, it remains to be seen how the firm will entice users to join the Game Pass Ultimate program.
By Jay Bonggolto
Eero adds content filters and more controls to its Secure subscription service
by Jay Bonggolto
Today, Eero introduced new features to its Secure subscription service that give customers more ways to control the type of content that can be accessed on their Eero networks. These include new content filters, ad blocking, and data usage insights.
The fresh content filtering system now allows parents to set restrictions for social media, YouTube, gaming, and streaming sites on individual devices. This complements the service's existing mature content and SafeSearch filters that can be set on a per-user basis, meaning you can designate restrictions to each family member based on age.
In addition to content filters, Eero has also launched the Block and Allow Sites feature. It basically lets you prevent certain types of websites from showing up on individual devices in your Eero network. "Allow", on the other hand, eases restrictions on websites that are otherwise blocked.
Eero's native ad-blocker for its Secure subscription has also received new improvements. Its list of advertisers will be updated in real time moving forward.
If you want to view the data usage of all devices connected to your Eero network, Eero Secure now provides daily, weekly, and monthly insights of that information. You can also see data usage by profile in order to monitor each family member's network consumption. Finally, Secure+ has added 1Password, Malwarebytes, and Encrypt.me to its suite of security services to help secure your device outside your Eero network.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order comes to EA Play on November 10
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Electronic Art's EA Play is receiving a popular game next week, with Respawn Entertainment's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order joining the subscription programs almost a year after its original release.
EA Play, formerly known as EA Access and Origin Access, is EA's multiplatform game subscription service that's currently available across Origin, Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. The new arrival is heading towards EA Play subscribers across all these platforms, and more, on November 10.
Notably, this is good news for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate holders, as this is the same day that the EA Play service gets added into the Ultimate platform as a bonus on the Xbox One family and the next-gen Xbox Series X|S - which are also releasing on November 10. Those without an Ultimate subscription on Xbox will still be able to subscribe to EA Play separately.
The Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription is set to gain EA Play at no extra charge as well, but this is slated to happen sometime in December.
For those who are in the dark about this Star Wars adventure, here's how Respawn Entertainment describes the title:
EA Play is available for $4.99 per month across all aforementioned platforms, coming in with a large library of Electronic Arts-published titles, a 10% discount on games by the company, and in-game benefits. The PC version of the subscription on Origin, however, also adds on a selection of third-party games, and there's a $14.99 per month Pro version of the service that includes new games from the publisher.
Update: Edited to clarify that EA Play will still be available as a standalone service on Xbox consoles.
Uplay+ to become Ubisoft+, also heading to Google Stadia and Amazon Luna
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Uplay+, the PC game subscription program Ubisoft launched last year, is going through a rebranding. Following November 10, the service will become Ubisoft+ and also take initial steps to shed its PC exclusivity. According to Ubisoft, a beta for Amazon Luna will kick off on November 10, and Google Stadia users are slated to gain access before 2021.
During the beta period for Luna, only the original $14.99 Ubisoft+ subscription will be required to gain access to the games on the service without needing an additional fee. The same offer will extend to the upcoming Stadia version, and even those with the free version of the Google service will be able to utilize their Ubisoft+ subscription to play games from the publisher.
The subscription's features aren't changing, with subscribers having complete access to almost the entirety of Ubisoft's catalog, both brand new and classics. On PC, this amounts to over 100 games, though on the streaming services side, it sounds like Ubisoft will be growing the library over time, with newer titles like Watch Dogs: Legion, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Immortals Fenyx Rising landing soon. Some games, like Valhalla, will also include cross-progression, so players can jump between their preferred platforms easily.
This announcement arrives soon after the recent reveal of Ubisoft Connect, a new service combining the efforts of Uplay and Ubisoft Club into one that's available across all platforms.
By Jay Bonggolto
Apple Music for Android appears to confirm the Apple One bundle
by Jay Bonggolto
A report surfaced last month claiming that Apple was planning to introduce a set of subscription bundle for its services with a tiered approach. The cheapest tier would reportedly include Apple Music and Apple TV+ while the more expensive one would combine Apple Arcade, Apple News+, and additional iCloud storage.
Today, a new report appears to corroborate that claim. 9to5Google says a string of code it found in the latest beta version of Apple Music for Android contains mentions of Apple One, seemingly confirming its existence. Version 3.4.0 of the music app also reveals that the subscription service is internally codenamed “aristotle".
The presence of the code string in the app also indicates that Apple Music will be offered as a part of Apple One. In addition, Apple mentioned that subscribers won't be charged for both subscriptions. However, you may not be allowed to manage or renew your Apple One subscription from the Apple Music app on Android.
There's no mention of the bundle's pricing. Nonetheless, it is expected to debut at an Apple event on September 15, when the tech giant will unveil a new Apple Watch and iPad.