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Winners and Losers: Xbox rolls out money-saving update as Netflix ups subscription costs

Every date Apple chooses to hold a launch event is a busy one for us and this week was no exception. 

The company held its ‘Peek Performance’ spring event this week, with the most anticipated update of the night being the iPhone SE 2022. Not only did Apple introduce its new mid-range smartphone, but it also unveiled the new iPad Air 5, Mac Studio desktop and Mac Studio Display monitor. 

Samsung had a less positive week after the company was called out for throttling over 10,000 apps by limiting their performance on Galaxy phones. The company has since responded by rolling out a software update that’ll allow users to control performance on their own phones – at least for gaming apps. 

However, neither of these stories warranted our winner or loser title this week. Keep reading to discover what did. 

Xbox Series X

Winner: Microsoft 

Microsoft quietly issued a handful of updates for the Xbox Series X and Series S this week – one that could save you money on your electricity bill and another that’ll make it easier to jump between your favourite games.

Perhaps the most exciting news here is gamers will now be able to pin two titles to the Xbox Quick Resume menu, making moving between two of your most frequently played games a breeze. 

In the same release, Microsoft made it possible to remap the Share button on the Xbox Wireless Controller, meaning you can now reassign the button to mute your TV, open your friends list or open your achievements. 

The brand also announced that its consoles would now be capable of downloading system and game updates in Energy Saving mode

This means that users will no longer be forced to switch out of Energy Saving mode – which has become the recommended setting when setting up the console – to install an important update. 

Not only does reducing the energy consumption of your console help in terms of your environmental impact, but it’ll also save you quite a bit of cash on your energy bills. 

Last January, the National Resources Defence Council estimated that gaming without Energy Saving mode could cost US gamers an additional $500m (around £380m) in electricity over the course of five years. 

Watching Netflix on the S22 Ultra

Loser: Netflix 

It’s tough to think of a company that frustrated us as much as Netflix did this week when it announced it would be increasing its subscription prices in the UK and Ireland once again. 

The streaming service confirmed that it would be raising costs across the board in the regions like the UK, with the Basic package increasing from £5.99 a month to £6.99 a month, the Standard plan going from £9.99 to £10.99 and the Premium plan going from £13.99 all the way up to £15.99. 

While that may only be an extra £1 to £2 a month, it means subscribers will have to fork out up to £24 a year on top of their usual plans if they want to keep their accounts. 

This isn’t even the first time we’ve seen a Netflix price hike in recent years. 

Just last January, the company upped the prices of its Standard and Premium packages from £8.99 and £11.99, respectively. This means the cost of a Premium subscription has skyrocketed from £11.99 a month to £15.99 in the space of just over a year – a 33% increase on its 2020 price. 

Netflix says the decision was made to allow it to continue to invest in high quality UK productions but, given this is the same excuse we heard last year, the price hikes are becoming harder and harder to stomach.

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Of course, Netflix isn’t the only streaming site looking for ways to scrape some extra cash right now. 

Disney recently announced plans to introduce a new, cheaper subscription tier subsidised by ads – something rival streaming sites like Discovery Plus and NBC Peacock have been doing for a while over in the US. 

This left some Netflix subscribers wondering if an ad-supported Netflix tier could be in the cards for those of us looking to save some cash. 

However, when asked at an investor conference, CFO Spencer Neumann stated that, while Netflix won’t rule the idea out, an ad-supported model isn’t the company’s plans right now. 

All that goes to say you’re probably going to have to accept Netflix’s new prices if you want to catch the next season of Stranger Things, Squid Game or The Crown.

Netflix wasn’t even the only company to increase its prices this week, as O2 customers were hit with a similarly frustrating 8% price hike. With streaming sites and mobile networks raising prices as the cost of living goes up, consumers are only going to be able to budget for so much before subscriber counts start dropping.

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