If you've had an Xbox console for a good long while then there's a good chance you've lost count of how many times you've re-upped your Xbox Live Gold membership. Now, starting or extending an Xbox Live Gold subscription for a whole year won't be an option through Microsoft's online store, as the company has confirmed that it has decided to remove the option. Only one month or three month subscriptions are available,
The confirmation comes from a statement provided to TrueAchievements (via GamesIndustry.biz). "At this time, Xbox has decided to remove the 12 months Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft online store," a Microsoft spokesperson says. "Customers can still sign up for a one-month or three-month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store."
Last week, people noticed that the 12-month Gold subscription had been delisted from Microsoft's storefront across multiple regions. Other retailers including Amazon are still selling 12-month Gold codes, at least for the time being.
Some have speculated that this is a move intended to push folks toward signing up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes Live Gold service on top of access to the Game Pass library. Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions are also available through third-party retailers, but only up to a maximum of three months at a time with no regular discount.
Like Microsoft discontinuing production on the Xbox One X and All-Digital Xbox One S, this could indicate a change in strategy and offerings ahead of the launch of the Xbox Series X later this year. With prominent free-to-play titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone still requiring Xbox Live Gold in order to play, and upcoming games like Halo Infinite potentially introducing a divide between free multiplayer on PC versus a need for Gold on consoles, it's possible we could see Microsoft either continue to consolidate its online services (like offering xCloud with Game Pass) or start to retire Gold as a multiplayer prerequisite.