Microsoft believes that exclusive content and consistent quality of service justify this month's increase to Xbox Live subscription prices.
"... if I'm playing Halo: Reach, Gears of War, Call of Duty, the consistency of the service and the experience needs to be there regardless of what that entertainment application is," Xbox Live marketing man Craig Davison told Gamasutra.
"So that has been critical. As you can imagine, the costs associated with maintaining a service at that level and making sure all of those features are consistent, we're hitting that quality bar, we're adding the customer service infrastructure necessary, we're accommodating all of the same social features and functionality too, there's a cost. Infrastructure costs, of course. And we're continuing to bring more and more content."
Microsoft is passing some of those costs onto gamers, with Xbox Live subscription prices going up in the UK, US, Mexico and Canada from yesterday.
"Now in 2002, it was strictly multiplayer gaming," Davison added. "Now we get those Call of Duty map packs before anybody else does. We've got Gears and Halo, of course, as exclusives. We continue to get exclusives on the service as well. And we've gone from 400,000 members in our first year to 25 million.
"So during that time, we've definitely got to fund it, and we want to add more and more and more. ESPN is a great example. No extra charge for Xbox Live Gold members. But we want to continue to bring that content in. We also want to continue to innovate on all dimensions, whether it's social, entertainment, or gaming. So there you go."