After this year's E3, it is clearer than ever that Microsoft is serious about targeting the family and casual demographics. Microsoft announced today that starting this November they will offer a family subscription package for Xbox LIVE priced at $99 a year. This is double the cost of a regular Xbox LIVE Gold subscription, but it will allow a family to have four different Gold-equivelent gamer tags.
Microsoft will also be launching Family Center, which will allow parents to control age restriction settings, give out Microsoft Point allowances, set time limits for kids' gaming time and more. Family Center will be accessible through both the Xbox 360 Dashboard and xbox.com. There will also be "intelligent default settings" for parents to choose from including child, teen and adult presets. This setting will control access to games, movies and other content according to ratings information.
While Family Center is a nice addition for those that have children, it is unfortunate that Microsoft will require a $99 subscription to gain access to this type of parental control system. Regardless, with Kinect driving Xbox's into a more casual space this fall, it is nice that these services will be available.