Microsoft is officially phasing out the requirement that free-to-play games require Xbox Live Gold in order to access online multiplayer, starting today. The company had announced its intention to do so previously and has been testing the feature for a while. Now you can play the likes of Fortnite, Warzone, Apex Legends, or 50 other free-to-play games without paying extra.
It makes sense: When you play a free-to-play game, it should be… well, free. Paying for a subscription just to play it online with friends kind of defeats the purpose. Microsoft came to this conclusion following a pretty severe user backlash earlier this year. The company had attempted to double the yearly price of a Gold subscription, and the response was swift and negative.
In response to that, Microsoft responded with an update to a blog post: “We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day… We’re turning this moment into an opportunity to bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience. For free-to-play games, you will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox.”
To be clear, there’s a distinction now between Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold. Xbox network, the service formerly known as Xbox Live, is the digital service that encompasses everything Xbox offers. Xbox Live Gold is the tier of Xbox service to which one must be subscribed in order to access online multiplayer for certain titles. Now that Xbox’s service is no longer called “Xbox Live,” one wonders if Microsoft will come up with a new name for the service — simply Xbox Gold, perhaps?
Source: Xbox Wire