For gamers of a certain age, Xbox Live has been something of a cultural phenomenon. Indeed it was my first experience of online multiplayer and where I made my first Gamertag (shout out to Finer_ Jellyfish, a randomised name). But it could be about to go the way of the Dodo.
That's because according to new leaks, Microsoft is planning to replace the monthly subscription service with a brand new "Game Pass Core" offering from September. At least, that's according to a now-deleted post on Windows Central and some industry leaks.
What is Game Pass Core?
Official details are hard to come by but one league from Korean site Cafe has suggested that Game Pass Core, will arrive on the 1st of September. As well as access to online multiplayer, a Game Pass Core subscription will supposedly feature a catalogue of over 25 games to play anytime, in a watered-down version of the fully-fledged Xbox Game Pass.
In fairness, it seems like some big Game Pass titles will be included in the subscription, such as Doom Eternal, Grounded and Forza Horizon 4. This sounds similar to Sony's PlayStation Plus collection that expired earlier this year. These free titles will be included in a bundle that apparently costs the same each month as a currentl Xbox Live Gold subscription (£6.99/$9.99). It also seems that the discounts that Game Pass members have access to will be included in the "Core" subscription.
Sounds great right? Well, there is a slight catch. There will supposedly no longer be any monthly free "Games with Gold", although any you have downloaded already will remain on your account.
Curiously enough, while Game Pass Ultimate subscribers currently also get online multiplayer access, those with just a PC or Console subscription have to buy it separately at the moment. With this new cheaper subscription including online multiplayer, it will be interesting to see if that changes.
Can I just stay subscribed to Xbox Live Gold?
Interesting question. Of course, we don't know yet, but it looks like the answer is no. The fact that Game Pass Core includes online multiplayer at the same fee as a Gold subscription suggests Microsoft is killing the term "Xbox Live."
This seems to be a relaunch of Xbox's online service, but your subscription will likely switch from Xbox Live to Game Pass Core.