Xbox Live Gold: what is it and do you really need it?

Xbox Live Gold is Microsoft’s online subscription service for Xbox. If you play online, chances are you need to pay for the privilege. There are exceptions to this rule, and they are free-to-play games. If your favourite online multiplayer game is free to begin with, you do not need Xbox Live Gold to access online multiplayer gameplay. Some prime examples of this would be Fortnite or Apex Legends.

Most likely, though, you don’t exclusively play free-to-play games. If you play online multiplayer games like Destiny, FIFA or Call of Duty, you’ll need to pay for your online privileges, thus you need Xbox Live Gold. You can purchase Xbox Live Gold on its own, and you’ll get access to online play, plus four free games each month.

Xbox Live Gold – How much does it cost?

You can currently buy Xbox Live Gold for 1 or 3 months at a time through Microsoft directly. There was speculation when Microsoft removed the 12-month option from their store that Xbox Live Gold would be discontinued, but there is still no official word on this yet.

1 month $9.99 £6.99 €6.99
3 months $24.99 £17.99 €19.99
12 months* $59.99 £49.99 €59.99

*12-month subscriptions are still listed above as you will find you can still buy cards or digital codes for a 12-month subscription from most reputable gaming retailers in your area. However, these cards cannot be redeemed on next-gen Xbox consoles, so only consider purchasing one of these if you trust the retailer and you are playing on an Xbox One.

Xbox Games with Gold

Another bonus you will get with your Xbox Live Gold is the free, monthly Games with Gold. These are four games – two Xbox 360 and two Xbox One games – which are free to download, play and keep. Rotation is every two weeks, with Xbox 360 games only available for two weeks, and Xbox One games staggered by two weeks. Be sure to check your Games with Gold every fortnight to make sure you are getting the most out of your subscription!

Games with Gold – October 2021


The Games with Gold lineup for October 2021 is currently available to download.

Aaero (Xbox One) — October 1 – 31

Hover (Xbox One) — October 16 – Nov 15

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (Xbox 360) — October 1 – 15

Resident Evil — Code: Veronica X (Xbox 360) — October 16 – 31

As long as you download these games within the relevant timeframe, you’ll be able to keep and play them forever.

Xbox Deals with Gold

Finally, you will also find that you have access to a number of discounts as a member of Xbox Live Gold. While browsing the Microsoft Store, either on your PC or console, you will be able to see that some prices are marked down “with Xbox Gold”. Sometimes this can be a significant reduction, with some titles even marked down by 90% for Gold subscribers.

How to cancel Xbox Live Gold subscription

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If you’re looking to cancel your Xbox Live Gold subscription this can be done through your Microsoft account on your PC or mobile device.

Log in to Microsoft account
Navigate to Subscriptions and Services tab
Locate ‘Xbox Game Pass Ultimate’ and click Manage
Click Cancel Subscription

Resubscribe to Xbox Game Pass

You can also resubscribe through your Microsoft Services and Subscriptions page by locating your Xbox Live Gold in Canceled subscriptions, and clicking Resubscribe.

Upgrade to Xbox Game Pass

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You can also upgrade your Gold subscription to an Xbox Game Pass without having to cancel Xbox Live Gold. This can also be done through Services and Subscriptions, or at

So what is Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass is a library of over 100 games that are free to play with a current Game Pass subscription. Your Xbox Live Gold subscription will not include access to Game Pass. Nor will a Game Pass PC or Game Pass console include Xbox Live Gold. However, you do not need to purchase access to both services, as Xbox Live Gold is included in an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, for less than the combined cost of both services. Read our guide to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate if you need to know more.

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