Microsoft plans to launch a new subscription service called Xbox Game Pass Core, which will replace Xbox Live Gold. The upcoming Game Pass Core will encompass the standard features of Xbox online console multiplayer support, exclusive deals, and discounts. Additionally, it will offer access to a curated collection of over 25 games, featuring popular titles like Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, and Psychonauts 2.
Current Xbox Live Gold members need not worry about the transition, as they will be automatically migrated to Xbox Game Pass Core starting September 14th. The pricing for the new service will remain the same, at $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year, aligning with the existing Xbox Live Gold subscription costs.
Enhancing the gaming offerings and benefits for subscribers
As part of this substitution, Microsoft will discontinue the Games with Gold program on September 1st. Games with Gold allowed Xbox users to receive complimentary monthly games for the past ten years, but with its discontinuation, the new Game Pass Core will take its place. If users have previously redeemed Xbox 360 titles through Games with Gold, those titles will still be accessible in their library. However, for Xbox One titles, ongoing access will require an active subscription to Xbox Game Pass Core or Game Pass Ultimate.
To ensure a fresh gaming experience, Microsoft plans to augment the Game Pass Core catalog with new titles two to three times annually. This move is designed to enhance the gaming offerings and benefits for subscribers.
Providing Multiplayer Access
“We saw an opportunity to rethink our content inclusion approach with this subscription,” states Jerret West, CVP of gaming marketing at Xbox. “To create a compelling catalog, we decided to incorporate selected titles from our Xbox Game Pass collection.” However, the introduction of Xbox Game Pass Core could lead to some confusion regarding the online multiplayer aspects of the overall Game Pass offering.
While Core will provide multiplayer access, the regular Xbox Game Pass, which is priced higher, will not include this feature. For the complete benefits of Game Pass and online multiplayer, users will still need to opt for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Microsoft has yet to address the potentially perplexing need for Xbox Live Gold alongside a standard Game Pass subscription, and the rebranding has arguably exacerbated the confusion.
Nonetheless, the phasing out of Xbox Live Gold has been evident for a couple of years, making it unsurprising to see existing subscribers transferred to an Xbox Game Pass-branded subscription. In 2021, Microsoft rebranded Xbox Live as an Xbox network but retained the Xbox Live Gold name for its most basic subscription.
Microsoft briefly attempted to double the cost of a yearly Xbox Live Gold subscription, a decision that didn’t sit well with Xbox fans. After facing backlash, Microsoft swiftly reversed its decision and removed the paywall for free-to-play multiplayer games. Furthermore, Microsoft unlocked Xbox party chat and Looking for Group (LFG) features for all users without requiring an Xbox Live Gold subscription, as well as allowing unrestricted access to free-to-play games without the need for Xbox Live Gold.