Over the past few weeks, speculation has intensified that Xbox Live Gold, the paid subscription required for playing games online on Xbox One, would be going away in some capacity. This speculation further ramped up when people noticed some changes to the legal terminology in Microsoft’s Services Agreement. Mentions of “Xbox Live” were changed to “Xbox Online Service.”
Further excarberating matters, the multiplayer in Halo Infinite has been revealed as completely free-to-play, as we previously reported. Unfortunately, it appears that nothing is going to be changing on that front, at least in the immediate future. We reached out to Microsoft for comment on some of the rumors and speculation around Xbox Live Gold, and a Microsoft spokesperson offered us this statement.
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. 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.
Xbox Live Gold is bundled in with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a tier that also includes Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta) and will soon include Xbox cloud gaming starting on September 15.
Right now, anyone playing Xbox titles like Sea of Thieves or Grounded on PC don’t have to pay a subscription fee to access online multiplayer. We’ll have to wait and see when or if this inequality is addressed moving forward.
Additionally, just because Xbox Live Gold isn’t going away right now doesn’t mean it won’t face the chop at some point in the future, especially if Xbox Game Pass subscriptions reach a critical mass. We’ll just have to hang tight.