Microsoft may be phasing out Xbox Live Gold entirely, according to reporter Jeff Grubb during an appearance on the Crossfire podcast.
Free online multiplayer is "very close to being a sure thing," Grubb claims, although he admits he's not 100% sure. That means that Xbox Live Gold, the subscription service that, until recently allowed players to purchase online access in one, three, and 12 month packages, would be phased out in favor of something new entirely - perhaps even free online access.
As GamesRadar previously reported, the Xbox Live Gold 12-month subscription option just recently disappeared off the Microsoft store, while the one and three month options still remain. It certainly points to the future disappearance of Xbox Live Gold as a whole (perhaps around when the Xbox Series X debuts), and the potential of the complete removal of a multiplayer paywall. Removing a paywall from multiplayer makes sense considering the spike in popularity of free-to-play battle royales like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone - and it would make online gaming more accessible for people of varying economic backgrounds, which we're all for.
There are rumors that the existing Xbox Live Gold subscriptions could be rolled into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. If that is indeed the plan, Microsoft may have to sort out their current conversion ratio. As of publication, one month of Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass translates to just 20 days of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, while one year of Gold or Game Pass gets you just four and five months of Ultimate, respectively.
Those who have already paid for 12-month Xbox Live subscriptions or have been stacking the annual packages will certainly want to get as much bang for their buck, so stay tuned.
Speaking of Microsoft, the Halo Infinite Box art just dropped.