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Microsoft’s new Xbox Game Pass Core will replace Xbox Live Gold in September


Microsoft is launching a new Xbox Game Pass Core subscription to replace Xbox Live Gold. This new Game Pass Core offer will include the usual Xbox online console multiplayer support, offers and discounts, and a new small catalog of more than 25 games, including gears 5, force horizon 4and psychonauts 2.

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

As part of this replacement subscription, Microsoft will discontinue Games with Gold on September 1, the benefit that has allowed Xbox owners to get free games monthly for a decade and add them to their library of content. All Xbox 360 titles that have been redeemed in the past will remain permanently in a library, but Xbox One titles will be dependent on an ongoing subscription to Xbox Game Pass Core or Game Pass Ultimate.

The more than 25 games that Microsoft includes in Game Pass Core are designed to replace Games with Gold, and Microsoft says it will add new titles two to three times a year.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to re-imagine how to include content with this subscription,” says Jerret West, executive vice president of game marketing at Xbox. “We found that the answer to the most compelling catalog was to take advantage of select titles from our Xbox Game Pass catalog.”

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

However, Xbox Game Pass Core could lead to some confusion about the online multiplayer aspects of Game Pass in general. While Core includes multiplayer, the higher-priced regular Xbox Game Pass does not. You still need Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to enjoy the benefits of Game Pass and online multiplayer. Microsoft hasn’t resolved the potentially confusing aspect of needing Xbox Live Gold alongside a regular Game Pass subscription, and the rebranding arguably makes it even more confusing.

Either way, the writing has been on the wall for Xbox Live Gold for a couple of years now, so it’s not surprising to see existing subscribers switch to an Xbox Game Pass-branded subscription. Microsoft rebranded Xbox Live as Xbox Network in 2021, but kept the Xbox Live Gold name for its most basic subscription.

Microsoft then briefly tried to double the cost of an annual Xbox Live Gold subscription, a move that didn’t go over well with Xbox fans. Microsoft quickly backed down, offering to remove the paywall for free-to-play multiplayer games. Microsoft then unblocked Xbox party chat and Looking for Group (LFG) for anyone without an Xbox Live Gold subscription, as well as allowing anyone to play free games without Xbox Live Gold.

The new Xbox Game Pass lineup starting September 14.
Image: Microsoft

The addition of Xbox Game Pass Core comes just a few weeks after Microsoft increased the overall monthly prices for Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate went from $14.99 per month to $16.99 (€14.99 / £12.99). The base price of Xbox Game Pass for console has also been increased from $9.99 a month to $10.99 (€10.99 / £8.99). However, Microsoft hasn’t changed the price of its PC Game Pass.

Microsoft also announced plans to end its Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family plan in August. The plan had been rolled out to eight countries, but Microsoft acknowledged that it was a “preview program” all along and will cease to exist on August 15. There is no sign of whether he will return at a later date.

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