Microsoft is starting to remove the Xbox Live Gold requirement for free-to-play games on Xbox.
This was something the company promised to do back in January after pledging to keep prices the same for the Xbox Live Gold subscription service.
For now, this will be available for users within the Xbox Insider program as part of Alpha Skip Ahead and Alpha while Xbox tests the free use of multiplayer in free-to-play games, looking for groups, and Xbox Live Gold membership. A general availability rollout will be announced once everything is confirmed to be running smoothly.
This is huge because Xbox players will now be able to play games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Smite, and more without needing to pay for a premium online service on top of the console. Sony’s PlayStation Plus has operated under this model since it started requiring the service for online play in 2013.
Microsoft also has started rebranding general Xbox Live services to the Xbox network.
Xbox Live was used as the overarching title for all Xbox online services, while the premium subscription that players needed to purchase to play online titles starting with the Xbox 360 was simply called Xbox Live Gold. Now, the Xbox Live Gold service will remain running, while the general online services will be referenced under the Xbox network.
This should be the final change to the Xbox Live services until new information is revealed by Microsoft.