In a bit of a surprising move, Microsoft has removed the option to purchase a 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscription from the Microsoft Store digital storefront.
“At this time Xbox has decided to remove the 12 month Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft online Store,” Microsoft said in a statement to NW. “Customers can still sign up for a 1 month or 3 month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store.”
The change is now live in the United States, Australia, and other regions though it should be noted that current Xbox Live Gold subscribers can currently renew their subscriptions for 12 months with the traditional discount by logging into their subscription page on the Xbox or Microsoft website. I just did this and I’d recommend you do the same as it’s unclear how long this option will be available. A 6 month membership can also be purchased here.
No reason has been given for this change. It could simply be Microsoft trying to save some money (the 12-month option is the cheapest) though it’s possible that the company could have plans to phase out Xbox Live Gold as a standalone service later this year when the Xbox Series X console is released.
Just this morning, Microsoft announced that their upcoming game streaming service, xCloud, would be free for all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers from September. That subscription already includes Xbox Live Gold so it would kind of make sense for Microsoft to combine its three digital services under one plan. This is purely speculation though.
Microsoft seems to be making quite a few changes in preparation for the launch of the Xbox Series X. Yesterday, we reported that the Xbox One X console had likely been discontinued due to its disappearance from several online stores and, just a few hours later, Microsoft officially announced that both the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S All Digital Edition had officially ended their lifecycle.
What do you think? Do you see Microsoft putting an end to Xbox Live Gold as a standalone service? Let us know in the comments below and then follow us on Pinterest and Twitter for more Xbox gaming news.