The benefits for this system were tenfold, including a massive discount in price, and other helpful options like the ability to restrict child accounts, and allot a Microsoft Point allowance with the press of a button.
Rather than give users a heads up however, Microsoft has simply stopped offering the service under cover of the night, and when users woke up this morning finding that there was an error code for their renewal option, a rep informed them that it was "no longer being offered."
If you renewed already you will still have access, but if you tried to renew today, you're basically screwed. I can confirm personally that I am not given the option to renew.
With the PlayStation 4 on the horizon, and the PS3 offering free content and application access right now, this move is beyond idiotic, and will no doubt sour a ton of paying customers.
In fact, I utilize the Xbox Live Family Pack myself to net a small discount for me and my wife. Now, like many others out there, I'm considering not renewing for the first time since the launch of Xbox Live, when I purchased my very first subscription pack that came with a headset and a free copy of Moto GP.
I know I can get discounted cards for around $35 per account during the myriad of sales that Amazon, Best Buy, and Toys R' Us hold. But with all of the great things Sony is doing with PlayStation Plus, it's really, really hard to justify paying Xbox Live with each passing day.