Xbox Live Gold could still be free, despite not being discontinued

Microsoft has said that Xbox Live Gold will continue into the next generation of consoles, but they won’t say whether it’ll be free or not.

Despite mounting evidence that Microsoft was planning to bring an end to Xbox Live Gold, and having to pay for online multiplayer, they’ve now denied that any major changes are in the pipeline.

‘We have no plans to discontinue Xbox Live Gold at this time,’ a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge. ‘It is an important part of gaming on Xbox today, and will continue to be in the future.’

That seems pretty unambiguous at first but what they wouldn’t do is comment on suggestions that Xbox Live Gold is going to become a free service.

The rumours began when fans noticed that Microsoft had stopped selling 12-month subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold, implying the service wouldn’t last that long.

Then they suddenly changed the wording of the Microsoft Services Agreement, to remove the words ‘Xbox Live’ and just refer generically to ‘Xbox online service’.

According to Microsoft though this was merely to distinguish been the paid Xbox Live Gold subscription and online services in general, with the spokesperson insisting, ‘There are no changes being made to the experience of the service or Xbox Live Gold.’

So, Xbox Live Gold isn’t going anywhere but the real question is whether you’ll have to pay to play online multiplayer games in the future. And that’s something Microsoft doesn’t really address.

The problem for Microsoft is that PC gamers don’t have to pay to play online whereas Xbox owners still do. Not only that but Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is going to be free-to-play, which further complicates things.

The closer Microsoft treats to integrate the Xbox and PC formats the harder it becomes to charge one for online and not the other, so while they have said they’re not discontinuing or renaming Xbox Live Gold that doesn’t mean they won’t make it free next generation.

Under exactly what circumstances though we don’t yet and, as with everything else related to the next generation, we’ll just have to continue waiting until more information is revealed.

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