Microsoft has officially stopped selling 12-month Xbox Live Gold bundles. Gamers can still sign up for other Xbox Live 12-month bundles through the likes of Game Pass Ultimate plans. For now, we don’t have a firm reason as to why the change was made, but we can take some guesses.
Per TrueAchievements, a Microsoft representative confirmed that the removal was not in error, though players are still able to purchase one-month or three-month plans. “At this time, Xbox has decided to remove the 12 months Xbox Live Gold SKU from the Microsoft Online Store,” stated the representative. “Customers can still sign up for a one month or three month Xbox Live Gold subscription online through the Microsoft Store.”
Based on the statement, it would seem that gamers will be out of luck for now if they want to get an Xbox Live 12-month subscription. It seems unlikely to return though, given that Microsoft has been putting increased emphasis on Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate plans. These replacement plans expand the range of options for services bundled to Xbox Live Gold, so it looks like the Redmond company is phasing out long-term basic plans in favor of the more expensive varieties.
And with the coming launch of both Project xCloud and the Xbox Series X, it seems that the change is here to stay, as Microsoft realigns with a more digital strategy, beyond that of simple Xbox Live Gold.
It seems unlikely that the base Xbox Live Gold offering will be completely removed, however, and in the absence of a firm explanation as to why the 12-month plan was removed, we can only speculate. Gamers can still purchase 1-month and 3-month packs of Xbox Live Gold at this time.