Rumors of Microsoft planning to re-brand or completely put an end to Xbox Live Gold have been circulating ever since the company began shifting its language when referring to Xbox Live Gold as "Xbox online service" in an updated service agreement (opens in new tab).
To further add to the credibility of these rumors, Microsoft has recently discontinued 12-month subscriptions of the service. However, this could have easily also just been an attempt at boosting the value of their Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which would cost a user $14.99 a month.
However, now these rumors are being denied by Microsoft. In a statement to The Verge, a Microsoft spokesperson claimed that "there are no changes being made to the experience of the service or Xbox Live Gold."
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Xbox Live Gold isn't going away anytime soon
Microsoft seems to be making its point loud and clear; Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold will not be changed or go away anytime soon. In reference to the reworked service agreement, the same Microsoft spokesperson said, "this language update is intended to distinguish that underlying service, and the paid Xbox Live Gold subscription." They also added, "there are no changes being made to the experience of the service or Xbox Live Gold.”
However, this could also be an attempt to calm rumors down before some sort of far off announcement. Perhaps Microsoft is still figuring out its plans for what to do with Xbox Live and can't share any official details as of yet.
When asked about whether or not Xbox Live will be made into a free service or if Gold will be discontinued, the company said, "it is an important part of gaming on Xbox today, and will continue to be in the future."
If Microsoft does intend to make Xbox Live free, this would line up quite perfectly with the announcement that Halo Infinite's multiplayer will be free to play.