Microsoft has finally decided to remove the much-criticized paywall of Xbox Live Gold for free-to-play multiplayer games on Xbox consoles.
Taking to Twitter earlier today, Xbox Preview Program developer Brad Rossetti revealed that Xbox owners will no longer require an active Xbox Live Gold subscription to create a party chat with their friends, look for multiplayer groups, or play free-to-play multiplayer games on their Xbox consoles.
The new series of Xbox Live Gold changes are currently only available for Xbox Insiders but Microsoft will roll out the update for the general public once internal testing concludes. Hence, to reiterate, popular free-to-play games like Fortnite and Apex Legends will soon be actually free to play on Xbox consoles.
Xbox Insiders in Alpha Skip Ahead & Alpha today we are flighting some new features. Multiplayer in Free-to-play games, Looking 4 Groups and Party Chat on Xbox no longer requires an Xbox Live Gold membership as we flight and test these service changes ahead of general availability
— Brad Rossetti (@WorkWombatman) March 24, 2021
The multiplayer-loving Xbox community has been requesting Microsoft to remove the requirement of an active Xbox Live Gold subscription for years. PC players for example have to only pay for their internet connection expenses. Xbox players though have to pay an additional subscription fee to access online features.
This becomes even more expensive in the case of retail multiplayer games because Xbox players then have to also purchase the game, purchase an Xbox Live Gold subscription, and naturally, pay for their internet expenses. That on the top of possible in-game microtransactions which makes the whole ordeal pretty cumbersome on their wallets.
Microsoft however has only made free-to-play multiplayers games relinquish the need of an Xbox Live Gold subscription. The Xbox community can keep their fingers crossed that Microsoft comes around to make other, premium multiplayer games free to play on Xbox platforms as well in the near future.