Microsoft Has Stopped Selling One-Year Xbox Live Gold Subscriptions

Posted on July 19, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Project xCloud, Xbox with 26 Comments

Microsoft has confirmed that it is no longer selling one-year Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, leading to speculation about the future.

“At this time, Xbox has decided to remove the 12 months Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft Online Store,” a Microsoft statement explains. “Customers can still sign up for a one month or three-month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store.”

The one-year subscription offered a healthy discount for the 12-month period when compared to the one- and three-month options. But with Microsoft suddenly awash in Xbox-branded subscriptions, some are wondering whether Xbox Live Gold has run its course.

More to the point, Xbox Live Gold has perhaps run its course. The subscription was initially offered as a fairly dubious paid option next to what was once called Xbox Live Silver, a free offering. But today, Microsoft offers three more lucrative Xbox Game Pass subscriptions, each of which is paid and more expensive than Xbox Live Gold. And those who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the most expensive version, get Xbox Live Gold as part of that membership.

As with the recent news about Microsoft halting the manufacturing of the Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, what we could be seeing here is a temporary situation as Microsoft gears up for its next-generation consoles and services offerings. In other words, it’s possible that Microsoft will simply kill Xbox Live Gold when the Project xCloud service is rolled into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate this fall.

Stay tuned.

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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Microsoft Has Stopped Selling One-Year Xbox Live Gold Subscriptions”

  1. Lauren Glenn

    Reminds me of Tivo. Every month it's just $15/mo for simple service for a box that's really just subsidized as a result and once there are no editions, you can't sell it because it's subsidized and they try to get you to buy a lifetime pass on it for $300 so you can sell it. Meanwhile, you can throw it in the dumpster for free.


    If they sell the box for $300 and I have to pay $15/mo to use it, then that's fine. At this point, might as well make it like the phone industry used to be where you get a phone for $200 down and have to have service for 2 years.

  2. pierre_masse

    Ahem... Since I only play Minecraft from time to time with some relatives, I bought a Xbox One S All-Digital Edition in sale and subscribed to a year of Xbox Live Gold. Should I feel cheated? Nah. It worth it, even if I will have to change my approach eventually.

  3. anthonye1778

    It would shake the industry if Microsoft killed Gold, stuck with Game Pass and Game Pass ultimate, and made multiplayer free for everyone. Making MP free would be a game-changer, so to speak. But then again, I could just as well see MS muck it up and bundle the MP aspect in with Game Pass Ultimate... thereby making it effectively more expensive than it is now.

  4. christianwilson

    Funny. My Live Gold subscription renewed for another year on Saturday. I must have gotten in at the last moment or there is some grandfather policy in place.


    This will probably be my final year as a Gold subscriber. I have what I imagine is an uncommon use case. I don't get to play games too often and I play online even less. Paying for a year of Gold gets me four free games a month and some decent sales on other games in the Xbox catalog. They aren't always great, but I've benefitted greatly from that aspect of the service over the years. I don't play regularly enough for Game Pass to make financial sense, though no question it's a great value. Now if Gold moves to monthly and three month plans, it sends the cost up over $100 a year and is above what I'm willing to justify spending.

  5. jermaine

    They just killing it for everybody. They out for the money. Everyone spent they good money and now this. So of you have the year gold will they cut it off.

    Let's do this " Micosoft " give everyone they money back. And let's go get the play station refund my MONEY.

  6. JustinMSalvato

    Someone help me: I play Fallout 76 which is a multiplayer game, if I get rid of Xbox Live Gold, I can no longer play this game, correct?

  7. tripleplayed

    Paying for online multiplayer has always been dumb. I certainly hope they drop it, but I doubt it. Companies aren't in the business of giving up free money.

  8. Awhispersecho

    I have zero interest in Game Pass or the streaming service. I want nothing to do with them, especially Game Pass. If I can't simply get Xbox Live Gold for less than 120 bucks a year, I may be done with console gaming completely. I play mainly on PC now but still have about 60 Xbox One games and the nephews use it all the time. If Live Gold ceases to be a thing and I'm forced to pay for the other services, I'm out. Playstation will be the only console I buy this Gen. My hope is they make Gold free but this is MS so I have no faith that's the case. Come Microsoft surprise me!! You can do it!!


    And what about all the games we have gotten free for paying for Gold, will we lose them too? I bet we will.

  9. stevek

    So my question if they are getting rid of Xbox Gold....

    For 360 games that were given to you for "free" as part of the Gold plan you always could keep them even when you canceled the service...

    They changed that for the Xbox One games; in that you could only play them if you continued to subscribe.


    I've kept a Xbox Gold subscription for years; mostly to build up that Digital Library of games...many of which I've never gotten around to playing; but they are in my library.


    So will I lose them if they get rid of the service then?


    As far as those thinking that Gold going free is a good thing...I disagree.


    One of the nice things about paying for multiplayer service, is that game servers are kept up much much longer on xbox live than they are on the other platforms like Sony and Nintendo. And that's cause those servers are being paid to be kept up through the subscription.


    In the new world of cloud computing like with Azure; that could even be more true; as you are just paying for the computing resources....not that specific game X servers are running; if fewer are playing game X then you could spin down those game servers; and spin them back up again as usage varies.


    Sony/Nintendo and yes even PC...you are luck if a game you BOUGHT has multi-player servers up and running 2-3 years after the game is released. After that; those multi-player functions you paid for when buying the game are just gone forever. I have a large stack of EA games on the PC that were great fun multiplayer but the servers were dead after 1-2 years. Nintendo even gets rid of their game stores pretty quickly...so digital titles you've bought you can never download again...


    As someone who likes playing older games; or who would like his 4 year old son to play some older games with him as he continues to get older....I don't like that model. I'd rather pay to keep servers up and running; and yes....if I'm not doing multi-player stuff; i could cancel for a while until I am again; then resubscribe.



  10. judgejewelz

    I really hope Microsoft communicate their intentions sooner rather than later, as my subscription is due for renewal.


    UPDATE. I’ve read many comments trying to second guess Microsoft’ motive, and whilst I’m happy to let this play out, I should add that I also have a PS4 Pro and I find neither company’s version of Game Pass of interest. Therefore, if Microsoft fail to provide an annual Gold Live-only service (and assuming Sony retain their equivalent service) then its goodbye Xbox; I’ll be exclusively Sony thereon in.

  11. glenn8878

    Why can’t they just roll up the 1 year subscription into the new service. Just change the terms of service starting today. Microsoft discontinuing services haphazardly suggests the end of the service rather than a replacement or evolution of the service. It causes people to question Microsoft’s commitment.

  12. quikah

    Either they make Gold free, or they have killed the Xbox console. People that get an Xbox for just CoD or Fortnight will ditch it if they really raise the price for multiplayer.


    Last place doesn't get the luxury of charging more.


  13. blue77star

    Microsoft should completely remove subscription or offer new XBOX System for free with the condition of customer signing up for 2 years contract paying x number of $ per month.

  14. madthinus

    Or they just took the 12 month away to unwind the discount.

  15. rsfarris

    My question is what happens to the 'free' games that you still have to have Xbox Live Gold to play if and when they kill Xbox Live Gold. Hopefully they just roll into the Game Pass subscription or they continue that program under Game Pass?

    • Mike_Peluso

      In reply to rsfarris:

      Microsoft has mostly been good about legacy issues. My guess is that they will be converted to 'own'. Microsoft is in it for the long haul, and they are keenly aware that a penny saved today can cost a dollar in ill will if they don't structure things correctly.


      I'm struggling with this, as the only reason I keep XBLG is for the free games, I never play online. Since I don't play often I tend to try and buy the annual XBLG when it's discounted once per year.



  16. hellcatm

    What if they're doing the 1 and 3 month subs for now to make some money until the series x comes out. As it gets closer to coming out they'll get rid of the 3 month but keep the 1 month, then Xbox Live Gold will become free and Xcloud and Games with Gold will be the pay services? This way the games you buy you can play for free online, but you can stream or get the monthly games for a price.

  17. theotherguy

    In reply to Bart:

    Or, do I dare to say this, what is now known as Xbox Live Gold will be free?


    Doesn't make sense? Why would they still be selling 1 & 3 months options?


    More likely they're going to make Game Pass the gold tier equivalent but at a premium price because it has the game subscription added. If people don't like it they can pay the exorbitant 1 or 3 month gold prices, which most won't because for an extra few dollars you can have an instant game library. Of course they're going to frame it like they're doing everyone a favour by still offering the 1 & 3 month options...


    Not a fan of where this might be heading.


    I just had my $1/month game pass subscription renewed today which i forgot to cancel. I'm not someone who plays 10 different games a month, and i don't want to pay ~2-3x the price just to access online play for the few games i do play.

  18. north of 49th

    While I understand the possible restructuring of Xbox Live into another service, I want the option to pay for a subscription service annually. I do this today for Spotify and Microsoft 365. Can both Game Pass regular and Ultimate offer an annual subscription globally? (I ask globally because Microsoft has been known to treat the US and the rest of the world differently)

  19. bart

    "In other words, it’s possible that Microsoft will simply kill Xbox Live Gold when the Project xCloud service is rolled into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate this fall."

    So, that means no more stand alone online gaming subscription? Or, do I dare to say this, what is now known as Xbox Live Gold will be free?

  20. anoldamigauser

    If anyone has the Employee Discount from the Build conference and has not used it yet, they are still selling two year ($50), and one year ($30) Xbox Live Gold Memberships. With the $250 spending limit, you can bank 10 years.

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