In a surprising turn of events, Microsoft has reportedly reversed its decision to revoke the complimentary Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions from its expansive workforce. This shift comes in the wake of internal upheaval following initial communications regarding the termination of this employee benefit, which was slated to take effect in January 2024. The decision had garnered significant pushback from the tech giant’s vast community of 238,000 employees, sparking discussions and concerns within the company’s ranks.
The latest developments, as revealed in a leaked internal memo attributed to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, have shed light on the temporary nature of this reversal. According to details obtained by The Verge, Spencer’s memo assured employees that there would be “no change” to the availability of Game Pass subscriptions for Microsoft staff in 2024. Within the same communication, Spencer extended his apologies for any confusion generated by the initial decision, expressing gratitude to the employees for their ongoing support of the Xbox platform. His efforts to address the matter were evident not only in this recent message but also in his prior commitment to investigate the situation after claiming to be unaware of the plan.
While Spencer’s reaffirmation appears to stem from a genuine attempt to address employee concerns, the memo’s explicit mention of the reversal being applicable only for the current year hints at the possibility of future reconsideration. Despite the seemingly temporary reprieve, the potential for revisiting the decision to eliminate the complimentary subscriptions remains a looming uncertainty for Microsoft’s workforce.
The offer of free Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions has been a long-standing perk accessible to all Microsoft employees, dating back to the launch of the service in June 2019. At that time, the premium tier of the subscription service was priced at $14.99 per month, offering a comprehensive gaming experience to subscribers.
Microsoft’s recent pricing adjustments further fueled the ongoing discussion, as the company initiated its first-ever price hike for Xbox Game Pass earlier in July. As a result, monthly Ultimate subscriptions saw an increase to $16.99, while the basic tier of the service experienced a price adjustment from $9.99 to $10.99. These changes, coupled with the proposed alteration to employee benefits, triggered a wave of reactions within the company, ultimately leading to the recent developments surrounding the future of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions for Microsoft employees.
The uncertainties surrounding the fate of this employee benefit are likely to continue sparking discussions and observations within Microsoft, as the tech giant navigates the evolving landscape of its internal policies and gaming initiatives. As employees await further updates and clarifications, the implications of this recent back-and-forth will undoubtedly shape the narrative surrounding Microsoft’s internal dynamics in the coming months.