XBL is arguably the best thing about my Xbox 360. I love it. I don't mind paying $50 a year for it. It's the price of one game per year, not unimaginable, yet I get tons of demos, trailers, and of course online multiplayer.
So why is it fanboys out there like to say that now that Sony is going online with the PS3, XBL would be free? I don't get it. Microsoft would be silly to give that away -- it's awesome! Millions of people are currently paying for XBL in its current state. I don't really want jokers on there who aren't willing to pay to be on there. I certainly don't want the cheater of the month on there -- and Microsoft having a credit card in hand helps prevent that. (This isn't directly related to credit cards, but Bungie's classic "Call the Waaahmbulance" article is a must read.)
XBL could probably be cheaper. I cancelled it once for my original Xbox becuase I wasn't using it enough. On my 360, I can't imagine cancelling my gold subscription. $50? For what they give me, it's no biggie.