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Xbox Live Gold is dead, long live Xbox Game Pass Core

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Microsoft is finally killing off what’s left of its past, Xbox Live Gold, which was previously the gold standard for online multiplayer when it was first released. But now, in the era of Game Pass, the name is changing and it will be transformed into another lower level of Game Pass called “Xbox Game Pass Core”.

This should be very similar to how Xbox Live Gold works today. It’s the same price as Xbox Live Gold, $10 a month, the same price as PC Game Pass and a dollar less than Console Game Pass.

This will automatically upgrade you from Xbox Live Gold to Xbox Game Pass Core. In fact, you do not change anything yourself. There will be a “catalogue of 25 quality console games”, but games with gold deals will end here. All 25 games are currently on Game Pass, but apparently most of the library won’t be there, as will the big new releases like Starfield. Here are the games you get:

Among Us, Descenders, Dishonored 2, DOOM Eternal, Fable Anniversary, Fallout 4, Fallout 76, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, Grounded, Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Wars 2, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Human Fall Flat, INSIDE, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Psychonauts 2, State of Decay 2, Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. The list is supposed to grow “in the coming months”.

This transfer will take place on September 1, so there is still one month left of Xbox Live Gold as it currently exists. Why does this happen? It’s definitely more than a game changer. In my opinion, there are two main reasons for this:

1) If Xbox Live Gold is now Xbox Game Pass Core, Microsoft will likely count that as “Xbox Game Pass subscribers”, which increases those subscription numbers even further (we haven’t gotten new subscription numbers since 25 million in January 2022). In May 2020, Microsoft mentioned that Xbox Live Gold has 46 million subscribers, well overtaking Game Pass, if no overlap in mind. Even if there were, that would mean an additional 20 million subscribers from recent data.

2) However, this is still confusing because Xbox Game Pass Core offers online multiplayer for $10, while Xbox Game Pass does not offer online multiplayer for $11. So the movement here seems to be pushing people towards Game Pass Ultimate which includes both. But at this point, that seems overly complicated, with Xbox Live Gold layered over Game Pass for always-online play. But that doesn’t seem to be changing, and it feels like a steady push towards Ultimate.

After this conversion I’m probably expecting to hear an updated Game Pass total, not sure why that’s No Include the key numbers at this point, even if it’s… a little cheating. But we’ll see if Microsoft officially announces it soon, and how they factor this conversion into their Game Pass totals down the road.

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