Why Xbox Live Gold is necessary
I discussed before that unlike Sony, who viewed Console as an appliance, Microsoft viewed console as a PC, the different mindset between the two gaming giant set what separated the Xbox Live and PSN, the Xbox Live are set to be more PC like, Yearly update and separate software license fee from the original hardware fee
I defined Xbox Live Gold Subscription as licensing fee for the Xbox Live Software, which on top of it contain the online service rather than Subscription for set of online service
Why I need to pay for Xbox Live?
As I mentioned before Microsoft took the PC way to build the Xbox, Innovation via the software, The hardware performance are constant (You can’t download a GPU) but Software are dynamic, they can be remotely updated. Microsoft saw that at the long term the software focused way would win over the hardware focused way. As Software doesn’t simply grow on tree, it cost money to deliver constantly changing software experience. Also since Microsoft isn’t a charity it can’t just give the software for free because the long Xbox lifecycle. It’s simply unprofitable to give away software to a product that have long life cycle
The Fact that Xbox live is not free (Paying service) also forces Microsoft to deliver a better experience (Innovate) to the Xbox Live consumer, The Xbox Live receive multiple Major UI/Dashboard change, from Blade to NXE, NXE to Kinect Style UI, and from Kinect Style UI to Modern User interface while the PS3 received practically zero UI updates, The PSN service is (In recent year and in my personal opinion) ….. Stale, PSN is, I dare to say technological backward compared to the Xbox Live, the experience of PSN is subpar to the Xbox Live (No Cross Gaming Chat is quick example), The fact that there is no major exciting news about PSN in the last few years (Unless if you think that the great PSN hack of 2011 is “exciting” news), while Xbox Live in the last two years busy revolutionizing the living room and gaming (Xbox Smart glass), thanks to money from Xbox Live Sub
Xbox Live Gold put pressure to Microsoft to provide even better service, since the sense of entitlement of a person who use a paying service is much greater to the one that use a free service, and it grow larger is the service major competition providing the near same set of service for free, and Microsoft know that and providing major update several times to the XBL service, while PSN user are much less entitled since it was a free service. The fact that free service make people are less entitled to be entitled put Sony in the situation when it not forced to innovate rapidly as Microsoft
It’s also help that XBL Gold bring more money to Microsoft cash flow that can be used to invest more in innovation
TL;DR The Fact that Xbox Live is a paying service push MS to innovate, in contrast to the Free but stale PSN Service
Why I need Xbox Live Gold to access Netflix, Hulu or even Facebook?
Because these app are developed by Microsoft, and the Xbox Live Gold is not a mere Subscription for Multiplayer, It’s a Subscription to the Xbox Live software itself (As I argued before) , You not paying for accessing the Internet, you paying for the Xbox Live software itself, the Facebook, Hulu, or *Insert app name here* is part of the Xbox Live Gold Software service, Angry that Xbox Live Gold Service app can’t run on your Xbox without paying it, It’s like angry that your PC can’t open Facebook without paying Windows license, You already pay for the hardware but Microsoft sold the Software that run in the hardware for an annual fee (for the reason mentioned above)