In the past few weeks, a growing body of evidence has seemingly indicated that Microsoft may be discontinuing their paid Xbox Live Gold online game service. The company stopped selling 12-month XBL Gold subscriptions, the Microsoft Services agreement replaced “Xbox Live Gold” with the term “Xbox online service,” and several typically trusted insiders have said Gold is leaving.
Well, don’t get it to excited for a brave new world of free Xbox online gaming. The folks at The Verge contacted Microsoft, and they shot down the idea that Xbox Live Gold is going everywhere. Here’s what they had to say about the changes to the Microsoft Services agreement …
The update to “Xbox Online Service” in the Microsoft Services Agreement refers to the underlying Xbox Service with features such as cross saves and friend requests. This language update is intended to distinguish that underlying service from the paid Xbox Live Gold subscription. No changes are made to the experience of the service or Xbox Live Gold.
… and here’s what they had to say about discontinuing Gold specifically.
We currently have no plans to discontinue Xbox Live Gold. It is an important part of gaming on Xbox today and will continue to be so in the future.
Well, that seems pretty cut and dried, but they did slip in “right now”. Can Microsoft’s tune change in the coming months? As I previously speculated, it would certainly make sense for Microsoft to make Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (which combines Game Pass and XBL Gold) their default subscription for online gaming at some point, but we’ll have to wait and see if that ever happens.
Again I ask, what do you think? Would you be happy to see Gold go? Or would Microsoft’s online services suffer if they didn’t charge for it?