The claims followed Microsoft’s decision to stop selling 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions from its online store, which it did not provide an explanation for.
Further fuelling speculation, the company updated its services agreement this week, in the process removing most references to Xbox Live.
The change is specifically mentioned in a list of updates to the services agreement, stating that “in the Xbox section and throughout the Terms, we’ve updated the Xbox heading [and] changed Xbox Live to refer to Xbox online service”.
On Wednesday VGC reached out to Microsoft for an explanation for the services agreement changes and asked if they indicated the company was planning to discontinue Xbox Live Gold.
A Microsoft spokesperson told VGC: “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.
“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.”
Microsoft recently confirmed that Xbox Series X launch game Halo Infinite would include a free-to-play multiplayer mode.
Last year, Microsoft began bundling Gold with Xbox Game Pass in the form of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which costs $14.99/£10.99 per month and will also include Project xCloud when it launches in September.
While the platform holder is no longer offering an annual Xbox Live Gold membership option, one and three-month subscriptions are still available.
“At this time Xbox has decided to remove the 12 month Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft online Store,” a company spokesperson said when asked about the change. “Customers can still sign up for a 1 month or 3 month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store.”
Xbox Live Gold also offers members two to four free games every month, and discounts of up to 50% on Xbox One products on the Microsoft Store.
August’s Xbox Live Games with Gold titles include Portal Knights, Override: Mech City Brawl, MX Unleashed and Red Faction II.