Microsoft is changing the way things are going to be done in its corner of the console gaming world. The company confirmed an earlier report on Friday by Sean Carey of True Achievements that the 12-month-long subscriptions for Xbox Live Gold are being ended. The inability to buy a year's subscription of Xbox Live Gold was originally thought to be an error, but the firm told the site it was an intentional change.
"At this time, Xbox has decided to remove the 12 months Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft online Store," the firm said in a statement. "Customers can still sign up for a one month or three month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store."
Carey said the Xbox Live Gold changes weren't explained beyond the removal. The writer pointed out the delisting of the option is across the board and in every territory around the globe.
Xbox Live Gold is a service that allows gamers to play online multiplayer on the company's video game consoles. The subscription also enables users to download several free games every month. They are able to keep those titles for as long as they continue their membership.
Adam Bankhurst of IGN Southeast Asia wrote that he believes the move is the start of a more complete phasing out of Xbox Live Gold. He pointed out the next generation of consoles is due to launch this holiday season and the discontinuation of the year-long memberships appears to be a form of housecleaning ahead of the new releases.
Bankhurst added that a similar service offered alongside Xbox Live Gold -- the Game Pass Ultimate -- encompasses the same kind of offering on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis, but it does so on both consoles and on PCs.
The writer said it seems likely that the plans for this kind of offering on the Series X and PlayStation 5 are going to be known in short order. More events are planned for this summer, though for now, it's thought the bulk of the unveiling is going to geared toward new, unannounced games.
Bankhurst also said it might not be until August before gamers get a clear picture of just what is planned for Xbox Live Gold later this year. He thinks the fact that the shorter-term offerings still being around means the service has a little life left in it. He added that could change in a matter of days or weeks and won't necessarily be preceded by an announcement. He pointed to the 12-month memberships being removed quietly and having to be discovered as an example.