Microsoft ‘will discontinue Xbox Live Gold and make multiplayer free’, it’s claimed
Company recently stopped selling yearly subscriptions
Microsoft is reportedly set to discontinue Xbox Live Gold, which is currently required to play multiplayer Xbox games online.
That’s according to VentureBeat journalist Jeff Grubb, who made the claim on Friday after a since-deleted listing by retailer Smyths Toys claimed Halo Infinite will feature a “groundbreaking free-to-play multiplayer experience” running at 120fps (Microsoft has since confirmed this to be true).
“Free-to-play Halo MP only makes sense if Xbox Live Gold barrier goes away at least for free games,” he said.
Xbox Live Gold is required to play free-to-play multiplayer games like Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone online. In contrast, PS4 and Switch owners aren’t required to sign up to online services in order to play either of these games.
Asked whether he believes Microsoft will get rid of Xbox Live Gold completely or just remove the paywall from free-to-play games, Grubb replied: “I think it’s going away entirely.”
Last year Microsoft began bundling Xbox Live 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.
“Xbox Live Gold is going away and playing online multiplayer will be free,” Grubb followed up. “They will not force you into Ultimate to play online.”
Earlier this month Microsoft stopped selling 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, fuelling speculation that the long-running service could be repackaged or phased out to coincide with the Xbox Series X launch this holiday season.
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. “Customers can still sign up for a 1 month or 3 month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store.”
As well as access to multiplayer gaming, Xbox Live Gold offers members two to four free games every month and discounts of up to 50% on Xbox One products on the Microsoft Store.