Since its launch in 2002, Xbox Live Gold has been the standard go-to membership that gives Xbox players full access to Microsoft's online gaming network, including exclusive member benefits.
However, 2021 brought some changes to the Xbox free-tier plan. These changes made core Xbox Live Gold features accessible to all for free - making it worth reassessing whether Xbox Live Gold is still worth the cost.
This guide will teach you the best ways to cancel or pause your Xbox Live Gold subscription.
Latest Changes to Xbox Live
The latest changes to the Xbox gaming network have pushed many people to consider canceling their Xbox Live Gold subscription.
Xbox announced on 21 April 2021 that all Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S owners will access more than 50 free multiplayer games without paying for a Live Gold subscription. The list includes popular titles such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, The Walking Dead, and more.
Previously, any multiplayer online game could only be accessed by Xbox Live Gold subscribers - no matter if the game was paid or free-to-play.
Xbox also opened the Xbox party chat and Looking For Groups (LFG) features as part of the change.
The changes apply to all Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S owners, but not to Xbox 360. If you own the older Xbox version, you still need a Live Gold subscription to access the free-to-play multiplayer games and the two social features.
The Difference Between Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold
Before we go into how you can cancel your Xbox Live Gold membership, it's important to clarify the distinction between Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold.
When you create a Microsoft account on your Xbox, you're connected to the basic Xbox Live free plan, which now gives you access to free-to-play multiplayer games, the party chat, and the LFG feature.
In 2021, Microsoft renamed Xbox Live, the basic free-tier plan, to Xbox Network. The rename was done to distinguish Xbox Live (now Xbox Network) from the Xbox Live Gold membership.
The main difference is that Xbox Live/Network is Xbox's free online gaming service, while Xbox Live Gold is a paid membership that gives you access to additional Xbox features.
Whether the Xbox Live Gold subscription is still worth paying for after the rollout of the latest changes will depend on what you use it for.
The changes apply only to a specific subset of free-to-play titles, while many other popular games still require an active membership to play with others. Moreover, the membership also offers other perks, such as member-only discounts and the Games with Gold program (see table below for the complete list).
|Xbox Live/Network||Xbox Live Gold|
|Price||Free||$9.99 per month|
$24.99 for 3 months
$39.99 for 6 months
|Multiplayer games||Yes (only 50 free-to-play titles)||Yes (all games)|
|Looking for Groups (LFG)||Yes||Yes|
|Games with Gold||No||Yes (2 free games a month)|
|Exclusive discounts||No||Yes (up to 50%)|
What Happens When You Cancel Your Xbox Live Gold Membership
When you cancel your Xbox Live Gold membership, you will still retain access to your Xbox Network account, including your Gamertag, games you've previously purchased, your game achievements, as well as your saved game files.
You can either cancel your Xbox Live Gold membership:
- Immediately: if you cancel your membership before the end of the current term you will receive a partial refund. However, you will lose access to all membership features immediately.
- At the end of the current term: if you stop your Xbox Live Gold automatic renewal, you get to keep all Xbox Live Gold perks until the end of your membership term. After that, your subscription will get canceled automatically and you won’t be accidentally charged for one more term.
How to Cancel Your Xbox Live Gold Subscription
Follow the steps below to cancel your Xbox Live Gold subscription.
Cancel Xbox Live Gold Via the Website
- Visit xbox.com and log in into your Microsoft account
- Navigate to your profile icon and select Subscriptions
- In the Service & subscription section navigate to Xbox Live Gold
- Select Manage
- On the Payment & billing screen select Cancel
- You can choose to end your subscription right away to the unused portion of your subscription refunded or wait until the end of your term and retain access to your Xbox Live Gold benefits
- Confirm cancellation
Cancel Xbox Live Gold Via the Xbox Console
- Press the Xbox button on your controller
- Navigate to Profile & system and select Settings
- Locate Account and go to Subscriptions
- Choose the subscription you want to cancel and press the "A" button
- In the Payment & billing section choose Cancel subscription
Contact Support to Cancel Xbox Live Gold
- Visit Xbox Support page and select the Contact Us button
- From the first drop down menu choose Subscriptions & billing
- Select I want to cancel my subscription on the second drop down menu
- Choose Request a call and follow the instructions
Turn Off Xbox Live Payment Auto-Renewal
- Visit xbox.com
- Log into your Microsoft account
- Navigate to your profile icon and select Subscriptions
- Next, go to Payment settings
- Select Manage then click on Turn off auto-renew
- Press Confirm cancellation
Common Issues With Canceling Your Xbox Live Gold
If you have any unpaid balances, you will not be able to cancel your subscription. This typically results in a suspended membership. To proceed with the cancellation, you must first pay the standing balance. You have the option to pay it online or by phone via the Support page.
How to Get Xbox Live Gold for Cheaper
You can save a lot of money by purchasing your Xbox Live Gold membership from third-party retailers like GameStop, CDKeys, Amazon, or Walmart. Typically, these retailers offer a 12-month prepaid membership for around $59.99.
Also, during holiday seasons, around big releases, and on Black Friday or Cyber Monday Deals, you may find the Live Gold subscription even more discounted - either through retailers or directly on the Microsoft website.
We recommend you conduct a google search to find the latest Xbox Live Gold membership deals in your area.
Alternatives to Xbox Live Gold Subscription
When canceling your Xbox Live Gold subscription, you might want to have a look at other online gaming alternatives. Namely, PlayStation Plus and Nintendo Switch Online. We've compared below the differences between these two alternatives and the Xbox Live Gold subscription.
|Xbox Live Gold||PlayStation Plus||Nintendo Switch Online|
|Free monthly games||2 free games||2-3 free games||No|