Talking tech since 2003

About a month and a half after Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak speculated that the company’s Prime subscription price might increase, it’s happened. Today, Amazon has confirmed that its Amazon Prime service—which offers free two-day shipping on a majority of its products, not to mention video streaming options—has gone from $79 a year to $99 a year, a 25 percent increase for the same suite of services.

Of course, while a 25 percent increase sounds like a lot, breaking things down to what Prime membership would cost month-to-month makes it hurt a whole lot less. The old pricing scheme cost members $6.58 a month, while the new price is only $8.25. Given the video streaming and free two-day shipping you get with membership, that’s still a pretty good deal. On shipping alone, members who buy products from Amazon regularly make out like a bandit. Still, no one likes a price hike, so I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of some users deciding to bail.

A post on Amazon about the price hike makes sure to point out that the service has existed for nine years, and that this is the first price increase since its introduction. Meanwhile, rumors about Amazon’s other ventures continue to swirl unabated. The last we heard about Amazon’s rumored Android-powered gaming console, it was supposedly scheduled to come out sometime in March. And just yesterday we heard more about the company’s work to bring music streaming to its Prime customers, though it still has yet to make an arrangement with music labels.

Between those two products, suddenly there are more possibilities for what kind of services Amazon might start to offer with Prime membership. Certainly an Amazon-made set top box for the TV would play whatever videos come with an Amazon Prime membership. And if that box played games too? It’s not unreasonable to believe that Prime membership could offer up a certain number of game downloads per month, or maybe even some form of game steaming like OnLive or Gaikai.

Believe it or not, OnLive for Android actually worked—just not super well. I tested that about two years ago, so I can imagine that kind of technology working even better in 2014. This is ALL speculation on my part—so far there’s no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Amazon has any interest in game streaming. But in terms of the company looking to entice users to stick with a newly expensive Prime membership, some kind of gaming goodness seems like a decent bet.

If nothing else, Amazon usually isn’t the kind of company to make something more expensive without finding a way to justify that cost to its users. I’m hoping that they announce their game console within the next few weeks and offer lots of gaming bang for our Prime bucks.

[Source: Amazon]

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