Microsoft has reportedly set a tall benchmark which will decide when it finally discontinues Xbox Live Gold to make multiplayer entirely free.
During the latest episode of his new GrubbSnax podcast, GamesBeat editor Jeff Grubb stated (via Reddit) that Microsoft still intends to remove the Xbox Live Gold requirement for online multiplayer on Xbox consoles.
Microsoft will not do so however until Xbox Game Pass has nearly doubled its subscribers in order to balance out the revenue lost from Xbox Live Gold but which may as well take a few more years.
“Microsoft’s just kind of [keeping their] heads down on getting user acquisition,” said Grubb, “and that means Xbox Live Gold will go away but we need to get to a certain threshold with Xbox Game Pass before we can make that choice and unplug that revenue source because we have enough coming from something else.”
Xbox Game Pass topped 23 million subscribers by April 2021. Grubb believes that reaching around 40-50 million subscribers will probably convince Microsoft to pull the plug on Xbox Live Gold. Doubling the number of subscribers will also not take as long as perceived.
Microsoft has been placing a large focus on promoting Xbox Game Pass as the Netflix of gaming and it really shows. Microsoft confirmed only last month that more than two dozen upcoming games will be available on day one for active subscribers.
Halo Infinite alone stands to boost the number of subscribers. Then there are other highly anticipated releases such as Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 as well as numerous other games under development at Xbox Game Studios.
Take note that Microsoft removed the Xbox Live Gold requirement a few months back but for a group of popular free-to-play multiplayer games such as Fortnite, Rocket League, Apex Legends, Warframe, Destiny 2, and Call of Duty: Warzone.
The Xbox player-base now awaits when all multiplayer games including premium ones will go free as well.