Over the past several weeks, reports have circulated that Microsoft has been planning to get rid of Xbox Live Gold and make online multiplayer free to play on its console.
Now, however, Microsoft has shut down these rumours.
“We have no plans to discontinue Xbox Live Gold at this time,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge. “It is an important part of gaming on Xbox today, and will continue to be in the future.”
Additionally, the spokesperson confirmed that Xbox Live is not being renamed, following speculation fuelled by a change of wording in its service agreement from “Xbox Live” to “Xbox online service” on August 1st.
“The update to ‘Xbox online service’ in the Microsoft Services Agreement refers to the underlying Xbox service that includes features like cross-saves and friend requests,” the Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge. “This language update is intended to distinguish that underlying service, and the paid Xbox Live Gold subscription. There are no changes being made to the experience of the service or Xbox Live Gold.”
That said, Microsoft still hasn’t commented on why its 12-month Xbox Live Gold memberships were quietly retired last month. The Verge senior editor Tom Warren soon discovered that Microsoft also stopped the one-year subscription on its employee-only Company Store. Given Microsoft’s silence surrounding this, it seemed like the company was perhaps phasing out Xbox Live Gold.
This was supported by credible Halo leaker Klobrille recently teasing on Resetera that “the question is not if the online multiplayer paywall falls,” but rather “when” it will. VentureBeat editor and frequent industry tipster Jeff Grubb also recently speculated that Xbox would be making multiplayer free. Instead, Grubb said Xbox would continue to push its Xbox Game Pass service — the more expensive tier of which, ‘Ultimate,’ currently includes Xbox Live Gold.
Most recently, Microsoft also confirmed that Halo Infinite‘s online multiplayer would be free-to-play, which seemed to indicate that the Xbox Live Gold floodgates could be opening.
Ultimately, while Microsoft says there are currently no plans retire Xbox Live Gold, this doesn’t mean the company won’t do so at some point in the future.
Source: The Verge