Subscription services are becoming more and more central to the games industry at a surprisingly rapid pace, especially with Xbox Game Pass continuing to go from strength and strength and Sony looking to follow in its footsteps with the upcoming revamped PlayStation Plus. The latter, of course, has established itself as key component of the Xbox ecosystem, but as it expands more and more, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Microsoft continually tweaking the service.
For instance, it seems like Xbox Live Gold – the paid subscription that’s required to play paid online multiplayer games on Xbox consoles – might soon be folded into Xbox Game Pas Ultimate permanently. Gold subscriptions are already part of the highest Game Pass tier, but according to journalist Brad Sams, Microsoft is currently considering discontinuing Xbox Live Gold entirely and offering it exclusively via Game Pass Ultimate. That would mean that if you want to play paid games online, you’ll need a Game Pass subscription.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard similar rumours, of course. Reports have claimed time and again over the last couple of years that Xbox Live Gold is going to be discontinued permanently down the line, though Microsoft has previous said that it has no such changes planned.
Recently, it was also reported that Microsoft is planning on launching a family plan for Xbox Game Pass subscriptions. It should be interesting to see if these rumoured changes are bundled and introduced together as part of an upcoming restructuring.
In January last year, Microsoft reversed a decision to raise Xbox Live Gold prices in response to widespread backlash, and also confirmed that Gold subscription requirements for free-to-play multiplayer games were being removed. Read more on that through here.