The recent and ongoing issues with PSN have lead me to think about my online gaming-related accounts in general recently, and I noticed my Xbox Live Gold account subscription was coming up for renewal.In the UK a Gold membership costs £39.99 ($65) which is about the price of a new game. I don’t use it anywhere near enough to warrant the (automatic) renewal happening so I decided to cancel. The fact is, I prefer single-player campaigns and tend to move on to the next game rather than hang around for the multiplayer, hence a Gold account goes to waste.The process of cancelling, or even turning the auto-renewal off, is painful in this day and age. You can’t just login to your account and untick the box or just go to xbox.com, it requires a phone call to Xbox Support. So I called and after a 10 minute wait I got through to someone who then proceeded to ask me lots of security questions. Once that was done I told him I wanted to stop the auto-renewal at which point his training kicked in and he was trying to keep the account going… and the money flowing.Now here’s the kicker. When the Gold account auto-renews it does so at the full price you paid the year before. But the act of me attempting to cancel allowed the support person to offer me the same 12 month subscription for just £24 ($39). That’s a saving of $26 just for phoning up support.The reason given for being able to offer the discount was loyalty, and because I had been a Gold member for 12 months I was entitled to a discount. Now I put it to Microsoft: if you can offer the service for $26 less after the first year, why isn’t this being offered to all Gold members by default?I realize this is a tactic used by many services to entice you to stay, but it doesn’t stop me getting angry about it. We pay enough to purchase the console, buy the games, and invest in digital downloads. The subscription on top of that for playing online should be as low as possible and clearly it isn’t in this case. There’s also the issue of Xbox Live only acting as a gateway in a lot of cases with publishers running their own servers for specific multiplayer games.So if your Gold membership is coming up for renewal I suggest you phone up support and ask for the auto-renewal to be turned off. This doesn’t cancel your account, it just means you have to manually renew. However, if your experience is anything like mine, you’ll be paying a reduced price for another 12 months over the phone.