Xbox Live Gold 12-month subscription silently removed

It seems that Microsoft is doing some light cleaning in preparation for the launch of its Xbox Series X console. It has retired the Xbox One X as well as the digital edition of the Xbox One S but it isn't just the physical products that are being retired. Apparently, even the 12-month subscription tier of Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold has been quietly eased out of the scenes, feeding rumors that Xbox Live itself might be the next one to go.

Prior to this, Xbox's subscription was available on three tiers. The simplest is, of course, the one-month subscription that costs only $10 per month. The longest is the 12-month subscription at $60 per annum. The middle ground and perhaps the most used is the three-month subscription for $25, probably one reason why Microsoft decided to remove the less purchased subscription.

Actually, Microsoft never gave a reason why, only that it did indeed remove the 12-month subscription option for Xbox Live Gold, at least from the Microsoft online store. It's still possible to purchase that from third-party retailers but it's only a matter of time before codes for those run out for good.

Naturally, the sudden and unexplained change has gotten Xbox gamers and market watchers speculating on the fate of Xbox Live Gold itself. In a recent blog post, Xbox chief Phil Spencer revealed that the xCloud game streaming service will be bundled with the Xbox Game Pass. It definitely seems that Xbox Live Gold is getting the cold shoulder treatment in this regard.

For now, at least, Microsoft is reassuring Xbox gamers that Live Gold will be sticking around. Reducing the subscription period does allow Microsoft to sunset the service sooner rather than waiting for one-year subscriptions to lapse first.