In a nutshell: Since launching Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold has been a secondary focus for Microsoft. So it was only a matter of time before the company either dissolved Live Gold or folded it into the Game Pass service. However, Game Pass for PC offers a better deal for those not playing Xbox games online.
Starting September 14, Xbox Live Gold will become Xbox Game Pass Core, a new basic tier of Microsoft's game subscription service. For $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year – the same price as Live Gold – the subscription includes online multiplayer and a small selection of Game Pass titles, but Microsoft is discontinuing Games With Gold on September 1.
Game Pass Core has 25 titles, with more added a few times a year. The initial list mainly consists of somewhat older first-party games:
- Among Us
- Dishonored 2
- Doom Eternal
- Fable Anniversary
- Fallout 4
- Fallout 76
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears 5
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Halo Wars 2
- Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
- Human Fall Flat
- Ori & The Will of the Wisps
- Psychonauts 2
- State of Decay 2
- The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
Meanwhile, for one more dollar a month, Game Pass for console includes the latest in-house Microsoft titles on day one and hundreds of other games while omitting online multiplayer. The offering presents a dilemma for console users unwilling to pay for Game Pass Ultimate, which includes everything, especially since Microsoft recently raised its monthly price to $16.99.
|Game Pass Core||Game Pass Console||Game Pass PC||Game Pass Ultimate|
|Monthly Price (USD)||$9.99||$10.99||$9.99||$16.99|
|Online Console Multiplayer||Yes||No||N/A||Yes|
|Catalog||25 Console Games in Rotation||Hundreds of Console Games||Hundreds of PC Games||Hundreds of Console and PC Games|
|New Games Day One||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|EA Play Included||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Member Deals & Discounts||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Like Live Gold, Game Pass Core is targeted at console users, as PC Game Pass is a much better deal for customers with the proper hardware. The two tiers cost the same, but the PC option offers users hundreds of titles, new releases, and EA Play, while online multiplayer is obviously of no concern.
Those interested in starting a subscription should note that the deals to receive the first month for $1 have returned. Subscribers who wish to keep the Xbox One games they redeemed through Games With Gold must maintain a Core or Ultimate subscription, but any claimed Xbox 360 games are theirs forever.