What you need to know
Xbox Game Pass Core is replacing Xbox Live Gold tomorrow.
The pricing structure is identical, complete with the same annual subscription discount and game deals.
As part of Game Pass Core, you'll get a range of solid titles to give you a taste of the full-blown Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions.
Read on for the full list.
How the time flies. I'd totally forgotten that Xbox Game Pass Core launches tomorrow, effectively ending the "Xbox Live" brand once and for all.
Xbox Game Pass Core essentially replaces and updates Xbox Live Gold, Microsoft's subscription service for online multiplayer. The pricing structure is virtually identical to Xbox Live Gold, with a $59.99 annual cost or a $9.99 monthly cost. It also includes online multiplayer for Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S consoles, as well as exclusive deals and discounts that both Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass members will be familiar with. Users with existing Xbox Live Gold subscriptions will be automatically converted to Xbox Game Pass Core.
The main difference, ultimately, is that you'll get a little taster of the full fat Xbox Game Pass library with Xbox Game Pass Core. Xbox Live Gold previously had a "Games with Gold" freebie every month, giving you a free copy of two current-gen games and two past-gen games. The quality began dropping rapidly once Xbox Game Pass launched, however, Microsoft prioritized its subscription game service library over the aging Xbox Live Gold service.
Today, Microsoft shared the full list of games coming to Xbox Game Pass Core with its initial offering. It's as follows, and contains some pretty sweet deals.
Microsoft clarified that some of the games in this list may vary by region, and the library is subject to change over time.
DOOM Eternal Standard Edition
Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition
Gears 5 Game of the Year Edition
Golf with your Friends
Halo 5: Guardians
Halo Wars 2
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Human Fall Flat
Ori & the Will of the Wisps
Payday 2: Crimewave Edition
Slay the Spire
Spiritfarer: Farewell Edition
State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
The Elder Scrolls Online
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Bye bye, Xbox Live Gold
Xbox Live Gold was a key innovation of Microsoft that helped it solidify a place in the competitive console market alongside PlayStation and Nintendo. Since its inception, both Sony and Nintendo followed suit with their own similar services, which may have contributed to the rise of server-oriented subscription services in general. Microsoft innovated again with Xbox Game Pass, bringing Netflix-like all-you-can-eat gaming to console, PC, and mobile devices via cloud gaming, helping it maintain a unique selling point during a very dry content cycle for its platform.
Many of the best upcoming Xbox games and best upcoming PC games are also heading into Xbox or PC Game Pass on day one, which leads many to call the service "the best deal in gaming." Games like Starfield, Lies of P, Forza Motorsport, and other additions should see the service hit record numbers this quarter, although we won't know for sure how the service is doing unless Microsoft shares its figures — something it has historically been reluctant to do.
It's a tad bittersweet to see the Xbox Live brand sunsetted, but the future for Xbox clearly revolves around Xbox Game Pass, wherever you might be playing.