Xbox live gold rebrands to xbox game pass core

Xbox Live Gold Rebrands To Xbox Game Pass Core

Published On: August 20th, 2023|Last Updated: February 10th, 2024|3 min read|

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Microsoft is set to launch a new subscription service, Xbox Game Pass Core, which will replace the existing Xbox Live Gold subscription. This new offering will provide users with the standard Xbox online console multiplayer support, as well as deals and discounts, and a small catalog of over 25 games, including popular titles such as Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, and Psychonauts 2.

Existing Xbox Live Gold members will be automatically transferred to the Xbox Game Pass Core on September 14th, with the subscription priced at the same rate of $9.99 per month (or $59.99 per year) as the previous service.

As part of this replacement subscription, Microsoft will be discontinuing Games with Gold on September 1st, a feature that has allowed Xbox owners to access free games on a monthly basis for the past decade. Any Xbox 360 titles that were previously redeemed will be permanently kept in the user’s library, while Xbox One titles will require an ongoing subscription to either Xbox Game Pass Core or Game Pass Ultimate.

The more than 25 games included in the Xbox Game Pass Core are intended to replace Games with Gold, and Microsoft has stated that it will add new titles to the service two to three times a year.

“We wanted to use this opportunity to reimagine how to include content with this subscription,” says Jerret West, CVP of gaming marketing at Xbox. “We found that the answer to the most compelling catalog was to leverage select titles from our Xbox Game Pass catalog.”

This catalog of games will be a lot more limited than the full Xbox Game Pass subscription ($10.99 a month), and Microsoft is only confirming 19 of the launch list titles today:

  • Among Us
  • Descenders
  • Dishonored 2
  • Doom Eternal
  • Fable Anniversary
  • Fallout 4
  • Fallout 76
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gears 5
  • Grounded
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Human: Fall Flat
  • Inside
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Psychonauts 2
  • State of Decay 2
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

The introduction of Xbox Game Pass Core may result in some confusion regarding the online multiplayer features of Game Pass in general. While Core does include multiplayer, the standard Xbox Game Pass, which is priced higher, does not. To enjoy the benefits of Game Pass and online multiplayer, one still requires Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Microsoft has yet to address the potentially perplexing requirement of needing Xbox Live Gold in addition to a regular Game Pass subscription, and the rebranding arguably exacerbates the confusion.

In any case, the fate of Xbox Live Gold has been evident for a few years now, so it is unsurprising to witness existing subscribers transition to an Xbox Game Pass-branded subscription. In 2021, Microsoft rebranded Xbox Live to Xbox network but retained the Xbox Live Gold name for its most basic subscription.

Microsoft briefly attempted to double the cost of a yearly Xbox Live Gold subscription, a move that was not well-received by Xbox enthusiasts. Microsoft promptly reversed course and offered to eliminate the paywall for free-to-play multiplayer games. Furthermore, Microsoft unlocked Xbox party chat and Looking for Group (LFG) for individuals without an Xbox Live Gold subscription, and allowed anyone to play free-to-play games without Xbox Live Gold.

Xbox game pass options

The inclusion of Xbox Game Pass Core has been introduced in close proximity to Microsoft’s recent adjustment of its overall Xbox Game Pass monthly fees. The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription has undergone a price increase from $14.99 to $16.99 (€14.99 / £12.99) per month. Similarly, the base Xbox Game Pass for Console pricing has also been raised from $9.99 to $10.99 (€10.99 / £8.99) per month. However, Microsoft has not altered its PC Game Pass pricing.

Furthermore, Microsoft has declared its intention to terminate the Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family plan in August. Although the plan had been implemented in eight countries, Microsoft has acknowledged that it was a “preview program” from the outset and will be discontinued on August 15th. It remains uncertain whether the plan will be reinstated at a later date.

Learn more about Xbox Game Pass Core on the Xbox website.