As Xbox Live Gold annual plans are no longer available for purchase, speculation is that the service will retire soon. And it seems that this will indeed be the case.
Jeff Grubb, which turned out to be extremely reliable in terms of gaming leaks, stated today that Xbox Live Gold is “leaving” and Xbox online multiplayer is going to be free, so there’s no need to subscribe to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to play online.
Xbox Live Gold disappears and online multiplayer is free. They don’t force you to play Ultimate online.
– grubbsnax is back (@JeffGrubb) July 31, 2020
While Jeff Grubb has been extremely reliable in the past, and several things seem to point to the retirement of Xbox Live Gold, we have to take this with a pinch of salt until an official announcement is made. Needless to say, this would be huge since the Xbox Series X would offer free online multiplayer at launch, potentially requiring Sony to change its strategies regarding online multiplayer on the PlayStation 5.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Xbox Live Gold will soon be a thing of the past. Earlier this month, Xbox insider Klobrille stated that the online multiplayer paywall will eventually fall. With multiple insiders talking about it, there’s little doubt that something will change with regard to paid online multiplayer soon.
The question is not whether the online multiplayer paywall falls. The question is when.
As of now, it is still possible to purchase an Xbox Live Gold subscription, as only the 12-month subscription has been discontinued for purchase, so it will be a few more months before the paid online multiplayer disappears when the rumors are indeed correct. Since a new Xbox digital event is set to happen next month, we’ll likely hear more about the matter in a few days, so stay tuned for all the latest news.