Microsoft has quietly discontinued 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions

Xbox Live Gold
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Following the news that Microsoft's Xbox One X and One S All-Digital consoles have been discontinued ahead of the upcoming Xbox Series X's release, it now appears that the console maker is quietly phasing out its current implementation of Xbox Live Gold too.

The company confirmed to True Achievements that it is no longer selling 12-month subscriptions to the service on its online store, instead offering only 1-month and 3-month subscriptions only.

"At this time, Xbox has decided to remove the 12 months Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft online Store," said a Microsoft spokesperson to the site, further explaining that "Customers can still sign up for a one month or three month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store."

What is Microsoft planning for next-gen?

While no reason was given for the decision, it may be an indication that Microsoft is planning a major overhaul of its online services going into the next generation, and will likely reveal those plans closer to the launch of Xbox Series X at the end of the year.

So what could Xbox's online services look like going forward? Given the enormous success of its Xbox Game Pass subscription, it's entirely possible that Microsoft could roll Xbox Live Gold's functionality into that, ending the need to subscribe to two separate services. Whether that would result in a price hike is, at this point, obviously an open question.

And then there's Microsoft's upcoming game streaming service, Project xCloud, which has so far seen "hundreds of thousands" of beta testers stream Xbox games from PCs to mobile devices, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer. 

It's entirely possible that Microsoft took a good, long look at Xbox Live Gold and what it offers, and has decided that it was one online service too many for Xbox's future. Of course, for now this is all just speculation, but given there are still many unknowns around the Xbox Series X family's launch, Microsoft looks like it'll have a lot to announce later in the year.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.