Back when the idea of having to chip in a few bucks extra every month to get a complete gaming experience had everyone doing a double-take, console’s heaviest hitters soon realised that something more had to be offered to secure that lucrative line of revenue. PlayStation had a swell idea with their PS Plus offerings, and Microsoft would soon follow in those footsteps by enhancing their existing Xbox Live Gold service by tossing free to own games with each subscription.
These days, Microsoft’s online eco-system is a little bit more tiered. In addition to Xbox Live Gold, there’s also Xbox Game Pass, which can be had on either console or PC. Throw in a grand total of $15 into the pot, and you’ll get an Xbox Live Gold subscription, Game Pass on both PC and Xbox One, and a ruined liver if you’ve been downing a shot of tequila every time I’ve mentioned “Xbox” in this post.
Here’s the question though: Is Xbox Live Gold needed in this day and age of the Microsoft eco-system push? Rumours have been circulating that the company is looking to do away with Xbox Live Gold and replace it with a free online service that would drive the numbers up more on Game Pass subscriptions, something which Microsoft has flatout denied. “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,” a Microsoft spokesperson said to GameSpot.
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.
Well there you have it: Xbox Live Gold is here to stay. Could bigger changes be on the way though? That’s a more likely possibility, especially when the biggest gun in their upcoming library, Halo Infinite, is planning to have free multiplayer on day one. Microsoft retooling the requirements for free to play multiplayer games such as Apex Legends and Fortnite wouldn’t just be a step forward in the right direction, it’d also bring their service more in line with how Sony handles online access to those games, as you don’t need PS Plus to access them.
Last Updated: August 6, 2020