Microsoft remove 12 and 24 month subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold, is the service winding down?

Microsoft have removed the 12 and 24 month subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold, leaving just the one and three months options. Microsoft have made the following comment to TrueAchievements:

At this time, Xbox has decided to remove the 12 months Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft online Store. Customers can still sign up for a one month or three month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store.

Why are they removing the subs? The obvious rumour is that Xbox Live Gold is going to shut down, but Microsoft likely have more profit-based plans. Removing the 12 month sub means that the price for a full year of Xbox Live Gold is now £71.96, and since you’re paying that much… wouldn’t you rather subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to get access to the game subscription service as well?


There is other speculation from VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb that Microsoft might be thinking to at least relax the requirement of Xbox Live Gold for free to play games, especially if leaks and rumours of Halo Infinite multiplayer being free–to–play end up being true.

Leaks from a listing on Smyths Toys have suggested that the multiplayer side of Halo Infinite will be going free-to-play when it’s released alongside the Xbox Series X later this year. The details have now been pulled, but were captured by Google’s caching and The Verge.

Would you be sad to see Xbox Live Gold go away? Games With Gold’s offerings have been rather lacklustre lately, while PlayStation Plus has been handing out triple-A games, Gold has been been handing out lower tier games.

For Games with Gold in August, as always there’s two Xbox One games and a pair of backward compatible games, with this month’s pair both coming from the original Xbox. Heading the line up from Xbox One are Portal Knights and Override Mech City Brawl, but you might prefer to boot up a pair of games from the early 2000s with MX Unleashed and Red Faction 2.

The games and their availability are as follows:

Don’t forget that you can still pick up some of July’s games:

Source: Microsoft / TrueAchievements

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  1. Who is going to think “An extra £21.95 a year is a bit much, why don’t I spend an extra £81.89 a year instead”??

    (That’s ignoring any £1 for the first month offers)

    I’d guess they’ll drop it for F2P games or possibly even get rid of it completely. And then just push the Game Pass thing heavily instead. And Sony hopefully add a discounted PS+/Now bundle while adding PS5 games to PS+. But then PS+ and PS Now only come to £100 a year anyway, so still cheaper than Game Pass Ultimate.

    • Yes, because the price difference per month is now £6 instead of £8. The upsell to Ultimate is now comparatively that little bit easier.

  2. Seems most likely they’ll scrap the fee to play online. It was a big factor to people choosing PS3 over 360 after all. Win back the cheapskates ha ha.

    • The PS3 had that somewhat disastrous launch price and all the cheapskates bought 360s instead, didn’t they? And then PS3s once the price dropped. I don’t think having to pay to play online had anything to do with anyones choice, ever.

      Obviously the same thing happened the other way around when the PS4 was cheaper. Except nobody went and bought an XBone once the price dropped ;)

      • Oh it definitely did. Knew people personally and saw plenty of forum & article comments back then saying they specifically chose ps3 because they didn’t have to pay £40 a year to play online. Microsoft have the money to take the hit, Sony don’t. That’s just a fact.

      • I bought an X1 very soon after they released the Kinect-less version, so not quite nobody!

  3. This is going to be Microsoft’s final throw of the dice to try and get all those millions of players back by offering free online play. I think they’re going to end up leaving the console market and concentrating on PC.

  4. It would harmonise with the state of play on PC, but I think it might coincide with something to do with GamePass

    Or maybe they are reducing the price and cutting the free games which as this article suggests are more miss than hit, and doesn’t compare that well to PS+, this would also position GamePass as the only service that includes games

    It is a good amount of Revenue to give up if it is just making it free to play. I make it of the order of £1B+ per year (£30, 30m subs cautious estimates) and I’m unsure what they would gain from it. Console players are used to paying for multiplayer now and have been since PS4 required it in 2013. I just can’t see that this would have a significant affect, but it is good PR, which always helps

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