Microsoft is preparing for the next-generation of console hardware arriving later this year by making a number of changes to its existing line-up. The Xbox One X and Xbox One S Digital Edition have already ceased production, and now Microsoft has decided to stop offering 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions.
The decision was confirmed by Microsoft in a statement to TrueAchievements, which explained, “At this time, Xbox has decided to remove the 12 months Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft online Store … Customers can still sign up for a one month or three month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store.”
Xbox Live Gold costs $9.99 per month or $24.99 for three months. The 12-month subscription was by far the best value, though, costing $60. It’s still available from third-party retailers, but stock is sure to disappear quickly. There’s been no explanation as to why Microsoft decided to stop offering a yearly plan, but the most obvious answer is Xbox Live Gold is set to be replaced with the launch of the Xbox Series X. If that proves true, expect the three month subscription option to disappear next, perhaps at the end of August or during September.
Last week, Microsoft announced that the company’s xCloud game streaming service would arrive first as a free perk for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. The perk arrives in September for anyone subscribing to the $14.99 service. Could it be that Microsoft intends to roll the features of Xbox Live Gold into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate? That surely makes sense in terms of value, especially when you consider the extra features (over 100 free games) on offer for $5 more each month. Microsoft’s plans may become clear on Thursday, July 23 when the Xbox Series X games showcase is set to happen.