Xbox Live Gold Ends After 18 Years, Replaced By Game Pass Core

After nearly two decades, Xbox Live Gold will die on September 14. In its place is Xbox Game Pass Core, a cheaper version of the Game Pass service that’ll allow gamers to play online together, as well as offer a curated selection of games to play. And, yes, that also means Games with Gold is going away too. You’ll still have access to those games you downloaded via the program, but there are some things to consider.

Originally launched in 2002, shortly after the launch of the original Xbox, Xbox Live quickly became the standard for online play on consoles. The service evolved with the Xbox 360, featuring various networking capabilities such as cross-game voice chat and messaging, and in 2013, Xbox Live Gold also offered free games each month via Games with Gold. In 2017, however, Microsoft turned to offering another online service with Xbox Game Pass, allowing players to download countless games for around 11 bucks a month on consoles. Now, the services are essentially fusing together on September 14, with the Xbox Live Gold branding being phased out, and Games with Gold ending on September 1. Xbox Game Pass Core, which’ll cost 10 bucks a month, or $60 a year, will offer 25 games to play and access to online multiplayer.

Game Pass will let you keep your Games with Gold games (under one condition)

Let’s get the big question out of the way first. Yes, you will be able to access games you’ve downloaded via the Games with Gold program, but here’s the catch: For Xbox One games, you’ll need to remain a Game Pass Core or Game Pass Ultimate subscriber to keep your Games with Gold games. 

According to Microsoft, Xbox 360 games are exempt from this requirement, as per the copy on the Game Pass Core announcement page:

Regardless of subscription status, any Xbox 360 titles redeemed via Games with Gold in the past will be kept in a player’s library.

If you are an existing Xbox Live Gold subscriber, you’ll automatically convert to Game Pass Core on September 14. Microsoft provided the following list of games that’ll be available on September 14 via the new service, with more to be added ahead of the service’s launch:

  • Among Us
  • Descenders
  • Dishonored 2
  • Doom Eternal
  • Fable Anniversary
  • Fallout 4
  • Fallout 76
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gears 5
  • Grounded
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Human Fall Flat
  • Inside
  • Ori & The Will of the Wisps
  • Psychonauts 2
  • State of Decay 2
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

Purchase Game Pass: Microsoft

Microsoft promises to add new games to Game Pass Core two to three times each year, in addition to various membership-exclusive deals and discounts.

The pricing of the service is somewhat curious, however. At 10 bucks a month, the full Xbox Game Pass on console is a mere dollar extra. It’s hard to imagine why someone would choose not to just spend the extra dollar and get access to a far larger game library that’s abundantly added to every month. It means Microsoft is now matching PlayStation’s Plus Essential service, which is the same price, with a similar library of games, except Sony’s version still offers a couple of free games every month to subscribers. What a curious move.

Diablo IV Freezes Trading After Gold Exploit Crashes The Market

The second-hand market for trading gold and items in Diablo IV is currently on hold as Blizzard investigates the rise of new item duplication glitches and gold exploits. The unusual economic intervention comes as the action-RPG’s market gets flooded with gold, and some players reportedly trade gear that’s not even that great for billions of in-game currency.

“We’ve suspended player trading in Diablo IV until further notice due to a gold and item duplication exploit,” a community manager for the company posted on the Blizzard forums on August 14. “We are working on a fix to amend this issue and will update you once we’ve reinstated the ability to trade. Once that is done, we will continue to monitor this activity to ensure a healthy playing experience for all.”

Diablo III’s controversial auction house was killed just two years into the game’s life, with the pay-to-win social hub souring many players on the random loot drop experience at the heart of the game. Blizzard didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes with Diablo IV, and in addition to not having an official auction house, one-to-one trading between players is pretty limited. The sequels’s most powerful gear, Legendary and unique items, can’t be traded. Neither can Aspects or most in-game currencies.

A screenshot shows community unrest about the state of gold dupping.

Screenshot: Reddit / Kotaku

Gold, gems, and rare items can be, however, and it’s led to some pretty wild results in recent days as apparent duplication glitches and gold-earning exploits load players up with tons of extra mid-level loot. A couple weeks into the current Season of the Malignant, players on the Diablo IV subreddit began reporting eye-popping trade requests in the neighborhood of five to 10 billion.

Some on the game’s official forums called on Blizzard to remove all of the allegedly duped gold in the Diablo IV economy, which seemingly involves up to 10 million players or more at this point. In mid-July, some third-party sites were selling 100 million in-game gold for $4. More recently you could get 1 billion for the same amount.

A screenshot shows the price of gold on a third-party marketplace.

Screenshot: IGGM / Kotaku

“Overall, the situation is a great recipe for a chaotic market,” one Diablo IV trader who goes by WretcH on Discord told Kotaku. “Exploits bringing a ton of gold into the economy, a significant amount of players who lack general knowledge of what makes gear good buying and selling, and a total lack of a unified and cohesive marketplace. It’s the wild west out here.”

It’s not clear at the moment what the precise source of the extra items and gold flooding the market is. There are rumors of dupping glitches being carried over from Diablo III and gold farming bots running amok. And none of this, from third-party trading sites to online gold sellers, is officially sanctioned by Blizzard, so dabbling in any of it always brings the risk of a ban.

“Engaging in exploits such as item/gold duping or real money transactions with third parties can result in account actions,” Blizzard told Kotaku last week when asked about the current market conditions and accusations. “We are currently investigating all reports.”


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