Xbox Live Gold 12-month subscription discontinued: will online be free next gen?

Microsoft’s next gen preparations are getting into high gear as they discontinue the Xbox One X and Xbox Live Gold subs.

The Xbox One has not gone well for Microsoft but it’s not as if it’s been an unmitigated disaster. It’s still sold around 48 million units worldwide, which is well ahead of much more beloved consoles such as the N64 and Mega Drive.

But with everything pointing towards Microsoft having at least two models of next gen Xbox that means they’ve suddenly got more consoles than they know what to do with. So while it may seem a little premature, it does make sense that retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy have begun discontinuing the Xbox One.

What now also seems to be happening is that Microsoft has discontinued 12-month subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold, implying that within a year it won’t be around in its current form.

There are a few reasons why the 12-month subscription could’ve been discontinued, the most boring (and therefore most likely) being some sort of error on Microsoft’s website, although it’s been removed from the site for every territory – so it’s not some minor glitch.

The more interesting options are that Xbox Live Gold is being retired in its current form and reimagined as a new service, possibly by combing it with Xbox Game Pass.

It’s even possible that Microsoft could be removing the need to pay for online play at all, something which PC gamers do not have to do and which console fans have become increasingly resentful of in recent years.

We’ll have to wait for official word on exactly what’s going on, although Microsoft has already tried to downplay what’s happening with the consoles.

Xbox console business planning lead Dan Tavares initially blamed the discontinued notices on Amazon and claimed that they’d merely changed the SKU numbers for the consoles, although you’ll notice his comment only covers the Xbox One S.

But now even Microsoft’s own online store lists the Xbox One X as sold out, and the same thing is reported to be happening at US retailer Target and in multiple Australian stores.

It certainly seems as if Microsoft is trying to clear the decks for the launch of Xbox Series X, although it’s unclear exactly how much they will reveal of their hardware plans at the Xbox Games Showcase next week – with insiders already claiming that the new consoles’ prices will not be announced.

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