Microsoft is removing its requirement for an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play free multiplayer games today. The software maker has been testing this move for the past few weeks, and now all Xbox One and Xbox Series S / X owners will be able to play multiplayer games for free without Xbox Live Gold. Microsoft is also unlocking Xbox party chat and the Looking For Groups (LFG) feature as part of this rollout.
The Xbox Live Gold changes mean popular games like Destiny 2, Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, Apex Legends, and many others will no longer need a subscription. More than 50 games will now be free to play. The changes certainly make the $ 299 Xbox Series S console much more appealing as a device for free-to-play multiplayer games.
Microsoft’s removal of the Xbox Live Gold requirement came after the company was forced to reverse a price rise for its Xbox Live Gold subscriptions earlier this year. Microsoft had tried to double the cost of the annual Xbox Live Gold subscription, a move that didn’t go well with Xbox fans. Microsoft quickly backtracked and offered to remove the pay wall for free-to-play multiplayer games.
Now that Microsoft has also made Xbox and LFG party chat free to use, it’s leaving Xbox Live Gold in a weird place. Xbox Live Gold also provides free monthly games for subscribers and discounts for the Microsoft Store, but most of its core features are now free for all modern Xbox owners. Even so, you will still need an Xbox Live Gold subscription for Xbox 360.
Microsoft is dropping Xbox Live branding, referring to the set of software and services as just the Xbox network now. The company has also been convincing its loyal base of Xbox Live Gold subscribers to migrate over to Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service with more than 100 games that is Microsoft’s primary focus for its gaming plans.