After nearly two decades, Xbox Live Gold will die on September 14. In its place is Xbox Game Pass Core, a cheaper version of the Game Pass service that’ll allow gamers to play online together, as well as offer a curated selection of games to play. And, yes, that also means Games with Gold is going away too. You’ll still have access to those games you downloaded via the program, but there are some things to consider.
Originally launched in 2002, shortly after the launch of the original Xbox, Xbox Live quickly became the standard for online play on consoles. The service evolved with the Xbox 360, featuring various networking capabilities such as cross-game voice chat and messaging, and starting in 2013, Xbox Live Gold also offered free games each month via Games with Gold. In 2017, however, Microsoft turned to offering another online service with Xbox Game Pass, allowing players to download countless games for around $US11 a month on consoles. Now, the services are essentially fusing together on September 14, with the Xbox Live Gold branding being phased out, and Games with Gold ending on September 1. Xbox Game Pass Core, which’ll cost US$10 a month, or $US60 a year, will offer 25 games to play and access to online multiplayer.
Let’s get the big question out of the way first. Yes, you will be able to access games you’ve downloaded via the Games with Gold program, but here’s the catch: For Xbox One games, you’ll need to remain a Game Pass Core or Game Pass Ultimate subscriber to keep your Games with Gold games.
According to Microsoft, Xbox 360 games are exempt from this requirement, as per the copy on the Game Pass Core announcement page:
Regardless of subscription status, any Xbox 360 titles redeemed via Games with Gold in the past will be kept in a player’s library.
If you are an existing Xbox Live Gold subscriber, you’ll automatically convert to Game Pass Core on September 14. Microsoft provided the following list of games that’ll be available on September 14 via the new service, with more to be added ahead of the service’s launch:
- Among Us
- Dishonored 2
- Doom Eternal
- Fable Anniversary
- Fallout 4
- Fallout 76
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears 5
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Halo Wars 2
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
- Human Fall Flat
- Ori & The Will of the Wisps
- Psychonauts 2
- State of Decay 2
- The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
Microsoft promises to add new games to Game Pass Core two to three times each year, in addition to various membership-exclusive deals and discounts.
The pricing of the service is somewhat odd, however. At $US10 a month, the full Xbox Game Pass on console is a mere dollar extra. It’s hard to imagine why someone would choose not to just spend the extra dollar and get access to a far larger game library that’s abundantly added to every month. It means Microsoft is now matching PlayStation’s Plus Essential service, which is the same price, with a similar library of games, except Sony’s version still offers a couple of free games every month to subscribers. What a curious move.
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