Microsoft is rolling out a new subscription service called Xbox Game Pass Core, which will replace Xbox Live Gold. The Game Pass Core will offer the usual features of Xbox online console multiplayer support, discounts, and deals, as well as access to a curated selection of over 25 games, including popular titles like Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, and Psychonauts 2.
Existing Xbox Live Gold members will be automatically transitioned to the Xbox Game Pass Core on September 14th, and the subscription will be priced at the same rate as Xbox Live Gold, which is $9.99 per month (or $59.99 per year).
With the introduction of Game Pass Core, Microsoft is discontinuing Games with Gold, a perk that allowed Xbox owners to claim free games monthly for a decade. While previously redeemed Xbox 360 titles will be permanently retained, Xbox One titles will require an ongoing subscription to Xbox Game Pass Core or Game Pass Ultimate to access.
Microsoft intends to refresh the Game Pass Core catalog by adding new titles two to three times a year, aiming to create a compelling collection. The initial list of games for the launch includes popular titles like Among Us, Doom Eternal, Fallout 4, and Halo 5: Guardians, among others.
However, the introduction of Xbox Game Pass Core could potentially create some confusion for users regarding online multiplayer aspects. While Core includes multiplayer support, the regular Xbox Game Pass, which is priced higher, does not offer this feature. To access both the benefits of Game Pass and online multiplayer, users will need to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
The shift from Xbox Live Gold to Game Pass Core aligns with Microsoft’s previous moves to adjust its subscription offerings and pricing. The company has rebranded Xbox Live as Xbox network and attempted to raise the cost of a yearly Xbox Live Gold subscription, a decision that faced criticism from fans and was later reversed. Additionally, Microsoft has made various changes, such as removing the paywall for free-to-play multiplayer games and unlocking Xbox party chat and Looking for Group (LFG) features for non-Gold subscribers.
Recently, Microsoft adjusted the overall pricing for Xbox Game Pass, increasing the cost of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate from $14.99 to $16.99 per month, and the base Xbox Game Pass for Console from $9.99 to $10.99 per month. However, PC Game Pass pricing remained unchanged.
Alongside these changes, Microsoft also announced plans to discontinue its Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family plan, which will cease to exist on August 15th, after being available in eight countries as a “preview program.” There is no indication whether the plan will return in the future.