For the first time in almost four years, I've let my Xbox Live Gold membership lapse.
As a hardcore gamer, this premium service is essential for online multiplayer games and for using most applications on the console.
Now, I don't play online very often but I've had loads of fun with Call of Duty, Battlefield 3 and the Halo series. And with well over 40 million active Xbox Live users since its 2002 inception, it's clear that other people love online gaming on their Microsoft box too.
So why would I let my membership expire then? Simply put, it's due to Sony's PlayStation proposition.
The gift that keeps on giving
Sony's PlayStation Plus subscription service is not only similarly priced to Microsoft's effort, but offers plenty more bang for your buck too.
Unarguably the biggest plus (ahem...) is that you can download free games every month. No, they aren't just independent titles, but full-fledged AAA videogames.
For instance, this month's free games are Hitman: Absolution and Catherine, two retail titles that created a buzz upon their release, to say the least. Other games up for grabs this month include Malicious, Sine Mora and Velocity Ultra HD.
And last month was pretty rewarding for hardcore gamers as well, with Okami HD, F1 Race Stars and Quantum Conundrum being three titles available to subscribers.
Even if this was all that Sony had to offer, it still beats Xbox Live Gold, which simply lets you play online, offers 512MBs of cloud storage for save data and lets you use the likes of YouTube and Internet Explorer on your machine.
However, Sony's service also gives users 1GB of cloud storage and exclusive discounts (hell, you also get a small discount on top of items already discounted in the PlayStation Store).
PlayStation Plus also grants gamers access to full game trials (which lets gamers play a full game for an hour), automatic software updates and early/exclusive beta access.
Coupled with the fact that the Plus offering extends to the PlayStation Vita as well, and Sony is certainly sitting in the pound seats.
Time for a change...
It's a real pity though, because I'd love for Microsoft to step up to the plate and offer something other than early access to game demos and online play. But as it is now, I simply can't justify spending almost R400 a year for the privilege of being able to play online and watch YouTube on a TV.
With Microsoft's next-generation console set to be announced on 21 May, we'd be very surprised if the company didn't take Sony's cue and offer a similar package. In fact, they'll absolutely need to if they'd like to hardcore gamers - the PS4 will be looking like a mighty attractive purchase for if they don't.
In fact, Microsoft could come up with a unique proposition of its own, leveraging its Xbox Music and Video store as well. Who wouldn't want to pay a premium for video and music streaming in addition to a few free games now and again?
And with the expected shift to a more PC-like architecture, as was the case with the original Xbox, we'd love to see Microsoft offer original Xbox games as part of the deal.
Nevertheless, I'll be anxiously waiting for Microsoft's 21 May announcement - this is their chance to make Xbox Live Gold desirable again in addition to reeling in those "casual" players.