Microsoft is allegedly still planning to get rid of Xbox Live Gold, but it may not happen for a while yet.
Last year, GamesBeat’s Jeff Grubb claimed that Microsoft would discontinue Xbox Live Gold, meaning Xbox owners would no longer need to pay a subscription fee to access online multiplayer.
While this did become the case for free-to-play games such as Fortnite and Rocket League earlier this year, there are still a number of games that require an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
Recently, Grubb has doubled down on his previous statement, saying that Microsoft fully intends to get rid of Xbox Live Gold completely. It’s just waiting for more people to subscribe to Game Pass.
Speaking on his GrubbSnax show on Giant Bomb (and transcribed by VGC), he reiterated that, ‘Xbox Live Gold is still on a board somewhere saying ‘This is going to go away at some point’. Whether or not they’re actively talking about it right now, I don’t know, but they still have it on a roadmap saying, ‘Xbox Live Gold will be dropped at some point in the future.’’
As for what the threshold of Game Pass subscribers could be, Grubb suggests that it could be 40 to 50 million, a number he says Microsoft is nowhere close to approaching. According to him, the total was somewhere between 19 and 23 million before E3 2021.
‘As we get close to Halo [Infinite] I bet they easily hit 23-25 million by the end of this year, and once they’re at 30 million they’ll probably reassess what they’re doing with Xbox Live Gold.
‘[It] probably still won’t go away until it’s probably closer to something like 40-50 million active users for Game Pass, but all that stuff seems within their grasp right now as long as they keep up the marketing side and promotional side, along with all these games that are getting announced.’
He adds that the upcoming Halo Infinite could be a ‘big lightning rod’ for new subscribers, with 2022’s Starfield to follow suit.
‘The point is, for now, Xbox Live Gold is still sticking around, but it’s still on the roadmap to go away for good.’
It makes sense for Microsoft to scrap Xbox Live Gold since PC owners have never needed it for online multiplayer. This also likely explains Microsoft’s decision to make Halo Infinite’s multiplayer free-to-play, or at least helped influence the decision.
Considering the popularity of Halo’s multiplayer, and with Infinite releasing on both Xbox and PC, gating it off to a portion of the playerbase would have been an unpopular move. But now, everyone will be able to enjoy Infinite’s multiplayer without the need to fork over extra money.
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