What happens when you lose Xbox Live Gold on Xbox One?

Brad Stephenson

Games with Gold

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Xbox Live Gold is a popular subscription service available on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One videogame consoles. Pricing varies by region but generally average around US$7 per month depending on the plan chosen.

Originally, an Xbox Live Gold membership was required to enjoy almost all online services on the Xbox 360 (such as playing online and watching online video on its numerous apps) but soon after the arrival of the newer Xbox One console the plan evolved slightly and now media streaming is available to free members (often referred to as Xbox Live Silver members) as well.

The evolution of Xbox Live Gold hasn’t really affected continuing members all that much but for those who may be considering taking a break from the service due to travel plans or a need to save money, many wonder how exactly their console will be affected and what they will lose once their Xbox Live Gold membership is cancelled. Here is what happens.

  • You get to keep your Xbox 360 Xbox Live Gold games: The way Xbox Live Gold was set up originally on the Xbox 360 was that it would reward subscribers with free Xbox 360 videogames on a monthly basis under the Games with Gold system. These games, once claimed, would be added to the user’s account and they would maintain ownership indefinitely. This hasn’t changed. Even after cancelling an Xbox Live Gold subscription, any Xbox 360 titles claimed while a member will remain in a user’s account and will be fully playable after the cancellation.
  • You can no longer play your Xbox One Xbox Live Gold games: Xbox One Xbox Live Gold games on the other hand work a little differently than the Xbox 360 titles as instead of giving ownership of the games to the user, the membership grants access to them for as long as they’re a member. This isn’t an issue for most Xbox One owners as the majority remain Xbox Live Gold members for the lifetime of their console, but for those that terminate their membership (or forget to renew) all access to any Xbox One titles claimed under the Games with Gold banner is removed, even though the game data will remain on their console and in the cloud. The good news is that whenever a membership is reactivated, access to all previously claimed titles is renewed and all of the save data is made immediately accessible.
  • The majority of your Xbox 360 and Xbox One apps will still function without Xbox Live Gold: Thanks to the policy update a few years ago, Xbox Live Gold is no longer needed to view online streaming apps such as YouTube and Netflix so any cancellation of an Xbox Live Gold subscription will not affect media watching at all.

  • Online play will be extremely limited with no Xbox Live Gold membership: For the most part, an Xbox Live Gold subscription is required to play games online on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Single player modes will still be functional after the membership is cancelled but gamers wishing to enjoy an online multiplayer session will need to pay up. There are some exceptions though due to the online nature of several modern titles like, Destiny, which is perpetually online. Xbox Live Silver members will still be able to play the game in its online worlds and observe other players but the ability to join and create parties will be absent.
  • Xbox consoles will still be online after cancelling Xbox Live Gold: While online play will be significantly impacted by the loss of an Xbox Live Gold membership, both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles will continue to function as normal with an active friends list, Community feed, and Achievements that will unlock as requirements are met in games and apps.

Cancelling an Xbox Live Gold membership really isn’t as dramatic as it used to be for Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners despite the loss in certain online features and monthly free games. Have you ever let your Xbox Live Gold membership expire? Would you ever want to? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.