Microsoft has confirmed that the cancellation of the annual subscription to Xbox Live Gold (no longer purchasable in any way) was not an error, but a scheduled thing.
The Microsoft spokesman who broke the news by speaking with TrueAchievement, has not added more specific explanations about this change, simply to reassure users by saying that subscriptions will be available for one to three months on the Microsoft Store:
“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.”
On the other hand, insider Klobrille has made it known on the ResetEra forums that the online multiplayer service of Microsoft will completely fall making it free. “The question is not if the online multiplayer paywall falls. The question is when,” the insider said.
This move by Microsoft, therefore not accompanied by a precise official motivation, has already given rise to a series of speculation, even if the most likely one seems to concern the growth of the revenues deriving from subscriptions, eliminating the most convenient “package” of all and, therefore, forcing users to purchase the shorter versions.
This strategy would tend to obviously favor the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the subscription that combines the Game Pass with Live Gold and could become the most popular solution for users. However, the speculation of general changes to the contents of the various subscriptions is not excluded, with the creation of new packages that would combine the various features of Live Gold and the Game Pass.
All this without forgetting the launch of Project xCloud in September, which will allow users to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles directly on smartphones or tablets and which will be added to the Ultimate version for free.
Finally, the most optimistic theory of all would see Microsoft leave free access to its online multiplayer with the arrival of Xbox Series X, a move that could shift the balance of “power” in the titanic clash with PlayStation 5, given that the subscriptions and Microsoft extras have always had an edge and always positive feedback compared to similar packages offered by Sony.