Microsoft has officially ended the annual subscription option for Xbox Live Gold previously sold through the Microsoft Store. The $60 option was the one many Xbox One users would opt for since it subscribed them again to Xbox Live Gold for another year and meant you didn't have to worry about it again for a while, and in the long run, it was more cost effective than buying three months or just one month every time. Those two options are currently the only ones available via the Microsoft Store right now, and no specific answer has been given as to why the change was made.
The change in Xbox Live Gold subscription options was noticed days ago when people realized the annual subscription choice was no longer available. It was unclear what that meant at the time and people weren't sure if this was an error or a sign of changes to come.
In a statement shared with True Achievements, Microsoft confirmed it was not an error and that these are the two options available to Xbox Live subscribers now as far as the Microsoft Store's options are concerned.
"At this time, Xbox has decided to remove the 12 months Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft online Store," Microsoft said. "Customers can still sign up for a one month or three month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store."
So what does this mean for the future of the Xbox Live Gold service? Annual subscriptions have pretty much always been around and are by far the most cost-effective option, so it's an odd change to have them removed. Some have speculated that this indicates bigger changes are coming to Xbox Live, perhaps even a change where it becomes free instead of being a paid service.
It could also be that Microsoft would rather people sign up for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription which bundles Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass together for $15 a month, so $180 a year. Xbox's past announcements and next-gen focuses like the Smart Delivery feature and the comprehensive backwards compatibility plans for the Xbox Series X have been very consumer-friendly changes though, so removing a convenient option to push for a more expensive option that may not work for everyone doesn't exactly line up.
The next Xbox Series X event will take place on Thursday, but it's supposed to only focus on games and nothing else, so don't expect any Xbox Live revelations to come from the showcase.
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