Microsoft is preparing to sunset Xbox Live Gold and replace the long-running online subscription service with an additional tier of Xbox Game Pass, according to a new leak.
This rumor started via a (now-removed) Windows Central article claiming that Xbox Live Gold will shut down on September 1, 2023. The same source indicated that taking its place will be Xbox Game Pass Core. This new Xbox Game Pass tier will cost $9.99 a month (the same price as Xbox Live Gold) and include access to online multiplayer on Xbox consoles alongside a host of additional benefits.
Xbox Live Gold is ending. It will be replaced by Game Pass Core starting September 1st• Same Price as Gold• Includes online multiplayer• Will include 25+ Game Pass games including DOOM Eternal, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, and more• Monthly free Games with Gold is ending pic.twitter.com/s8Xm5096hYJuly 17, 2023
The current Games with Gold perk will reportedly be shuttered, and instead replaced with a selection of more than 25 Game Pass titles made available to members at the new Core level. The same leak suggests that the launch lineup will include flagship first-party games such as Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5 and Halo 5: Guardians, plus several games from Microsoft-owned publisher Bethesda such as Doom Eternal, Dishonored 2 and Elder Scrolls Online.
Xbox Game Pass Core will supposedly offer members-only deals and discounts, which is another benefit currently enjoyed by Xbox Live Gold subscribers. The leak also makes it clear that any free games previously acquired via Xbox Live Gold will remain available to users who claimed them at the time even after the switchover.
It’s believed that existing Xbox Live Gold subscribers will be automatically converted to Xbox Game Pass Core in September, and this change will effectively bring to an end the Xbox Live brand after more than two decades. However, it does make sense that Microsoft would want to unify its Xbox subscription offerings under a single umbrella, and Xbox Game Pass is now arguably the stronger brand having become ubiquitous with the current Xbox ecosystem.
The arrival of a Core tier would bring the total number of Xbox Game Pass membership options to four: Core ($9.99/month), Console ($10.99/month), PC ($9.99/month) and Ultimate ($16.99/month). And would roughly bring it in line with Sony’s revamped PlayStation Plus which offers three distinct tiers including “Essential” which is comparatively similar to the rumored Xbox Game Pass Core.
Of course, this news remains unconfirmed for now, but if true, it’s not the only way that Xbox Game Pass is being shaken up. Earlier this month Microsoft announced it was ending the Xbox Game Pass “Friends & Family” plan which it had been testing in select markets. There is no word yet on whether it will return at a later date, or if it will ever see a global rollout.
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Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.