In a major move, Microsoft is updating how Xbox Live Gold subscriptions work, by dropping the requirement for you to even have a subscription in order to play free-to-play multiplayer games online.
The company announced on 21 April 2021 that every Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X owner can play free multiplayer games without Xbox Live Gold. That means more than 50 games – such as Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, and Apex Legends – will no longer require a subscription.
Keep in mind Microsoft recently tried to increase the price of its Xbox Live Gold subscriptions by double, but it swiftly reversed course after much criticism, and now, it’s nixing the paywall for free-to-play multiplayer games. Microsoft is also opening up Xbox party chat and the Looking For Groups (LFG) feature as part of the change. These were previously core features of Xbox Live Gold, and now they’re free to all newer Xbox owners.
You’ll still need an Xbox Live Gold subscription for an Xbox 360, however.
Microsoft also recently announced it is changing its Xbox Live branding, to simply the Xbox network now. And it’s been actively encouraging users to join Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service with more than 100 games. You can learn more about how that service works in Pocket-lint’s in-depth guide.