Goodbye, Xbox Live Gold — Hello, Game Pass Core

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Xbox announced yesterday that it is phasing out Xbox Live Gold, its long-running subscription service for online multiplayer, later this year. It’s incorporating it into Game Pass as a new tier called Core, which offers similar benefits to Live Gold, with some slight changes. The new model goes into effect on September 14, at which point all Xbox Live Gold members will become Xbox Game Pass Core members if they haven’t already made the switch. Here’s everything Gold users need to know.

The company had already begun phasing the service out and intertwining it with Game Pass already — Gold and its benefits were already part of the Game Pass Ultimate. It also retired the name “Xbox Live” in 2021 in favor of “Xbox network.” This is a final shift towards making Game Pass the sole subscription service from Xbox.

Xbox Game Pass tiers

Presently, there are three tiers of Xbox Game Pass shown on Microsoft’s website. These are Console Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Game Pass Ultimate. Xbox Live Gold is grouped with them on the same page. According to the Xbox Wire announcement, the new tier list will look almost identical, save the branding switch from Gold to Core. The price is identical: $9.99 per month, or $59.99 per year.

Both Gold and Core offer online multiplayer for console users, a perk not offered to Console and PC Game Pass users. Core members also have Gold’s discounts on games. All of the Core benefits are part of an Ultimate subscription.

The primary difference between Gold and Core is Games with Gold. Every month, Gold subscribers receive access to two free games — the most recent ones being Darkwood and When the Past was Around. Instead of this, Core offers users a library of over 25 games to access with their subscription. The library includes Among Us, Gears 5, Doom Eternal and The Elder Scrolls Online, among others. Xbox plans to add games to the library a few times per year.

Xbox Games with Gold ends on September 1, meaning August’s games will be the last as part of the service. Users can keep Xbox One games they redeemed via Gold as long as they remain a Game Pass Core or Ultimate subscriber. They can also keep any Xbox 360 games redeemed regardless of subscription status.

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