Xbox Game Pass Core replaces Live Gold on September 14th

You'll get a handful of 'free' games, but monthly additions are going away.


One of the last traces of the early Xbox era is going away. Microsoft has revealed it's replacing Xbox Live Gold with a Game Pass Core tier on September 14th. The $60 per year (or $10 per month) subscription is necessary to play many (but not all) online multiplayer games on consoles, as before, but it also represents a shift in how the company doles out bonus games.

The company is sunsetting Games with Gold, which offered a steady flow of titles for Live subscribers. Instead, you'll get a base collection of more than 25 games with new entries two to three times per year. Most of them are first-party games like Doom Eternal, Forza Horizon 4 and Halo 5, although you will find the occasional third-party project like Among Us and Human Fall Flat.

If you're already an Xbox Live Gold member, you'll automatically switch to Game Pass Core when it's available. Games with Gold ends on September 1st. However, you'll still have access to any Xbox One games you claimed if you're either a Core or Ultimate member. Redeemed Xbox 360 games are yours to keep even if your subscription lapses.

Microsoft has signalled its intent to change Live Gold for a while. It stopped offering year-long subscriptions in 2020, and ditched Xbox 360 games in 2022. The company planned to raise Gold prices in 2021 before quickly reversing the decision.

The change might be disappointing if you liked Games with Gold's more frequent catalog expansions. While you do get some hits, it's a not-so-subtle way to steer you toward an Ultimate subscription with a much larger selection (including some day-one titles), cloud gaming and an EA Play membership. In that sense, PlayStation Plus Essential (which still offers bonus games every month) may be more appealing if you're open to Sony hardware.

With that said, Sony pulled the PlayStation Plus Collection this spring. Unless you got the selections through other promos, you'll have to pay to revisit some of the PS4 era's best games. Microsoft isn't strictly mimicking Sony's strategy (it's mainly a bid to showcase first-party releases), but this is a rough equivalent if you're just looking for an instant library.