What Happened to Xbox Live Gold? (What You Need to Know)

What Happened to Xbox Live Gold?

Xbox Live Gold was the key to unlocking the full potential of Xbox gaming for many of us. It offered a premium subscription service that provided access to multiplayer gaming, monthly free games, and exclusive discounts on the Xbox Store. For years, it’s been the backbone of the Xbox online community, helping us connect with friends, compete in online battles, and expand our gaming libraries. It wasn’t just a service; it was a cornerstone of the Xbox experience, vital in fostering the vibrant community we’ve come to know.

But now something has happened. If you have been looking to renew or purchase Xbox Live Gold for the first time you have already noticed that it seems impossible to find.

What Happened to Xbox Live Gold?

Microsoft shook things up when they announced the decision to phase out Xbox Live Gold and roll it into the broader Game Pass service. Dubbed Game Pass Core, the change promises to unify and simplify the subscription model. Revealed to us in early July 2023, this transition became a reality on September 14, 2023, after, reshaping the way we access games and connect with fellow players on Xbox.

When this change was announced Microsoft stated that “Xbox Live Gold is becoming Xbox Game Pass Core“. So while we can feel good that the access to online console multiplayer feature will continue to exist in Game Pass Core, which is the main reason the majority of people subscribed to Xbox Live Gold, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some slight differences between the two services.

Keep reading to learn what these differences are and how they will impact you.

Xbox Live Gold: 6 Month Membership
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Xbox Live Gold: 6 Month Membership
  • Join the Xbox community to experience the rush of competitive and cooperative online gaming on the most advanced multiplayer network.
  • Quickly find people you want to play with using Clubs and Looking for Group.
  • Get 2 free games per month, discounts on select Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 titles in the Microsoft Store.
  • Enjoy member discounts on select game add-ons and consumables.
  • Buy Xbox Live Gold individually or upgrade your experience with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to get unlimited access to over 100 games with all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold included at a better value.

Why Is Xbox Live Gold Ending?

While no reason was explicitly given for the evolution of Xbox Live Gold into Game Pass Core it’s no secret that the gaming industry is changing at a breakneck pace, and Microsoft is not just keeping up—they’re aiming to lead the charge. They’ve recognized that the era of simple online multiplayer access isn’t enough for everyone with many gamers craving more value, more content, and more flexibility.

That’s where the new Game Pass Core comes into play. Microsoft is reimagining its service to offer us a more comprehensive gaming experience. It’s not just about playing online anymore; it’s about having a library of games at our fingertips. Game Pass Core promises to blend the connectivity we’ve enjoyed with Xbox Live Gold with a vast selection of games to play whenever we want. It’s a bold move that reflects our changing habits and the increasing appetite for on-demand gaming.

Plus, by rolling the services that were offered by Xbox Live Gold into the already successful Game Pass family, it may be easier to entice people to step up to the higher-priced and more feature-laden Game Pass Ultimate membership.

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How Does Game Pass Core Compare to Xbox Live Gold?

Now let’s look at how Game Pass Core stacks up against Xbox Live Gold as we explore the similarities and differences that define each service.

What Is the Same?

  • Both services provide access to online console multiplayer
  • They offer member deals and discounts of up to 50% off select games
  • The price for both services is $9.99 per month

What Is Different?

  • Xbox Live Gold offered two free games a month with Games with Gold. The Games with Gold feature doesn’t exist in Game Pass Core.
  • Game Pass Core provides immediate access to a catalog of over 25 high-quality games.
  • Xbox Live Gold allowed members to play select, fully featured games with Free Play Days.

What Happened to Existing Xbox Live Gold Subscriptions?

So what happened to people who were already part of the Xbox Live Gold family? Did their memberships vanish into thin air?

Existing Xbox Live Gold members automatically became Game Pass Core members on September 14, 2023, as the remaining time on their Gold memberships converted to Xbox Game Pass Core memberships.

But wait there is more!

Recognizing that many gamers had a lot invested in their Gold subscriptions, Microsoft allowed those with existing memberships to keep their benefits including any games they received through Games with Gold. This was on top of the game library that you automatically get access to with Game Pass Core!

FAQs About the Xbox Live Gold Transition to Game Pass Core

Here are some of the most common questions people are having about the transition to Game Pass Core.

Do You Not Need Xbox Live Gold Anymore?

As we stated earlier, Xbox Live Gold has ceased to exist as of September 14, 2023. However, if online multiplayer is your thing or you’ve grown fond of the exclusive discounts and free games, then you’ll need to get a membership for Game Pass Core or Game Pass Ultimate.

These Game Pass memberships are the new hot ticket, offering you the online play you’re used to with Gold, plus a massive library of games to boot. It’s a transition that’s reflective of where gaming is headed – more connected, more inclusive, and loaded with value. So, while Xbox Live Gold as a standalone service is taking a bow, the features you love are simply moving house to the broader, more feature-packed Game Pass offerings.

Is Xbox Live Gold Included in Game Pass?

While Microsoft has gone so far as to say that Xbox Live Gold is now Game Pass Core, this isn’t exactly the truth. Yes, Game Pass Core will provide access to console multiplayer, and offer deals on select games, with the price remaining the same as Xbox Live Gold. However, the Games with Gold feature is being retired and will instead be replaced with access to over 25 games that users can play from day one.

So while it may not be 100% accurate to say that Xbox Live Gold is included in Game Pass it is fair to make that comparison, with any differences between these two services being minimal at best. Microsoft has done a great job in making sure that you are offered the same value for your dollar as the transition to the Game Pass membership takes place.

What Will Happen to Your Existing Games with Gold Library?

If you have been a long-time Xbox Live Gold user you may have built up a significant Games with Gold library. So it is natural to wonder about the fate of your Games with Gold titles.

Your collection of Xbox One titles claimed through the Games with Gold program will continue to be yours to play, as long as you maintain any sort of Game Pass Core or Ultimate membership.

Regardless of whether you have a Game Pass membership going forward, which you probably will, any Xbox 360 or Original Xbox games that you redeemed through Games with Gold will remain in your library going forward.

So unless you elect to not have Game Pass Core in the future, there’s no need to fret about losing access to the titles you’ve accumulated over time. Even if you choose to go without Game Pass you will still hold onto those Xbox 360 and Original Xbox games.

So rest easy, these digital titles won’t just be cast adrift in this transition to Game Pass.

Do Xbox Live Gold Cards Still Work?

As we make the transition from the  Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, you might be wondering about the fate of those unused Xbox Live Gold cards collecting dust in your drawer. Good news – there’s no need to worry! If you’ve got unused Xbox Live Gold cards, they haven’t lost their value. You can still redeem them.

When you input the code, your Xbox Live Gold subscription time will be converted to Game Pass Core membership time. It’s a smooth process, so you’ll be jumping back into your gaming sessions in no time, with all the Game Pass Core benefits at your disposal.


In conclusion, if you’re a gamer who’s been relying on Xbox Live Gold for online play and free monthly games, it’s clear we have witnessed the end of an era. Microsoft’s shift towards Game Pass Core signifies a new chapter in their gaming services, as they seek to seamlessly integrate the outgoing Xbox Live Gold with their other offerings at a price that still feels like a value-packed service to the consumer.

As we bid farewell to Xbox Live Gold, let’s embrace the changes and the enhancements brought by Game Pass Core. Rest assured, our gaming experiences will continue to evolve, and I’m confident that Microsoft’s new direction will provide us with even more exciting opportunities to play and connect with our favorite games and communities.

Last update on 2024-05-30 at 10:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Dan G.
Dan G.

Dan is a video game enthusiast who has been playing games for over three decades. Starting out as an "old school" gamer, Dan has since embraced the modern age of gaming, thanks in part to his kids who inspired him to explore today's current consoles and games.

With a passion for video games and a desire to help others, Dan has become an expert in the field, specializing in video game consoles and hardware. Through his numerous articles and reviews he enjoys answering questions and helping parents understand the different options available for their kids.

If you're looking for expert advice on video games and consoles, Dan is a go-to source for reliable and informative information.