Virgin Media withdraw Gamer 200 package amid price rises

1 August 2017, 14:30   By Helen Mumford

VIRGIN Media have withdrawn their VIVID Gamer 200 broadband package, as part of wider price rises at the broadband provider.

virgin media shop sign
Credit: Jevanto Productions/

The removal of the Gamer 200 offering comes at a difficult time for Virgin Media, amid a relative under performance in the expansion of their Project Lightning.

It's in this difficult context that Virgin have also announced price rises for new and existing broadband customers, the latter of whom will have to pay anything between £1.99 and £3.99 extra a month from November.

However, while such rises might make it seem as though the disappearance of the Gamer 200 package is possibly part of a cost cutting exercise at Virgin, the provider still offer their VIVID 300 package. This offers the same lack of traffic management and the same upload speeds, yet with faster download speeds, and all at the same price as that of the Gamer 200.

The Gamer 200

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For those who weren't all that familiar with Virgin Media's VIVID Gamer 200 package, it was almost identical to their VIVID 200 broadband product, except that it enabled upload speeds of up to 20Mb and didn't impose traffic management at peak times.

Such benefits were available for £5 more per month than the standard VIVID 200 package, yet now the Gamer 200 has been unceremoniously removed.

It may have been conceivable that part of Virgin Media's reasoning behind the discontinuation was the likely impending changes to how broadband speeds are advertised.

The ASA and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) were consulting on the possibility of requiring broadband providers to advertise median speeds (available to at least 50% of users) at either peak times or over 24 hours.

After a couple of delays, their consultation finally ended on July 13th, so it's likely that the two bodies will publish their results soon, with providers being required to update their marketing sometime after.

Given that Virgin have been known for somewhat inconstant peak time speeds, it was possible they were worried about the impact the Gamer 200 might have had on their attempts to cope with any new ad regime the ASA introduced.

Because it's a popular product, it may have potentially placed too much of a burden on Virgin's network during peak times, and thus the provider may have wanted to withdraw it so that they could continue advertising their high broadband speeds.


However, this isn't the reason for the apparent discontinuation, which doesn't affect existing Gamer 200 subscribers.

In fact, it has a simpler explanation. Namely, Virgin Media have recently gone through a series of relative financial setbacks, with the provider admitting that their flagship Project Lightning expansion hadn't quite expanded as quickly as originally forecast.

Added to this, Virgin also announced the closure of 30 of their stores nationwide, as well as the redundancy of 200 employees.

Because they haven't fared as well as they'd hoped recently in attracting new customers, they've had a rethink about their products and marketing, with the relaunch of their 50Mb broadband package being one of the most notable results.

Another is the fact that, rather than simply "withdrawing" the VIVID Gamer 200 package, they have effectively replaced it with the pre-existing VIVID 300 broadband package, which removes traffic management, keeps the same 20Mb upload speed, but increases the download speed to a more attractive 300Mb.

Since the monthly price difference (£5) between the VIVID 300 and VIVID 200 is exactly the same as the difference that existed between the VIVID 200 and Gamer 200, this means that they haven't so much removed the Gamer 200 as upgraded it.


Yet upgrading isn't the only thing Virgin Media are currently doing, since they've also introduced a number of price and product changes.

We do everything we can to balance keeping our prices competitive while investing to meet the ever-increasing appetite for broadband and content ... We're investing more in our ultrafast network to continue offering the UK's fastest widely-available speeds.
Virgin Media

For example, they slightly increased the monthly price of their broadband-only 50Mb package from £32.25 to £33, while the broadband-only 300Mb package rose from £47.25 to £48 a month.

These increases affect only new customers, yet Virgin have now also given advance notice of forthcoming price changes for their existing customers.

As we were told by a spokesperson, the following will be happening in the coming weeks and months:

  • "Prices for the majority of customers will increase between £1.99 and £3.99".
  • "The changes will take effect from November 2017 and some customers will start to see changes in their bills from October 2017".
  • "We'll be writing to our customers to explain these changes and will continue to make sure they can experience even more from Virgin Media".

So, in other words, while Virgin aren't really removing the Gamer 200 package, they are increasing their prices in order "to meet the ever-increasing appetite for broadband and content".

And while this will arguably result in a better service for customers, they will unfortunately soon have to pay a little more each month.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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