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Xbox Live could be ditching the Gold requirement for Netflix, Hulu

If you've never really been happy at the fact you need a Xbox Live Gold subscription in order to access Hulu and Netflix on your Xbox there's a good chance that requirement could be gone soon. It's something that has been on the table for a while now but according to Arstechnica, multiple sources have now been briefed on the matter ahead of June's E3 expo.

According to our sources, Xbox 360 and Xbox One users will soon no longer need a paid subscription to Xbox Live Gold to access Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming media apps. Additionally, we've been told that Xbox Live Gold may put other services behind the paywall to make up for this shift, though those sources could not confirm whether that includes existing services or if that only includes upcoming content like TV series from Xbox Entertainment Studios.

In other words, there's a bit of give and take there. Sure, you'll no longer need to pay $59.99/year for Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming media apps but there could be more interesting stuff put behind the paywall that will make you want to continue paying for it. In any case, it remains a rumor for now but it's a rumor we're looking forward to hearing more about.

Source: Arstechnica

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Reader comments

Xbox Live could be ditching the Gold requirement for Netflix, Hulu

107 Comments

Well damn. At least the world cup on the way. I was using the Swype keyboard and didn't check the auto correct.

Lol it was too easy a mark, I had to get it on. Using the same style, BTW. It's super cool once your keyboard learns your moves. Especially when you've trained it to learn your vulgar slang. :)

Well originally it was because they were exclusive to the 360, so it was part of the deal to get the rights from Netflix and the like, and I guess since that was already their standard they didn't want to change it

& netflix wasnt personally building the app. Dont know if thats changed(or will change) since i trialed it but that i assume was one of the core reasons
Final fantasy online was one of the exceptions for the gold rule

Me neither, and often you can get it on sale of you keep your eyes out for it. I still think they need to find some new ways to add some value to Gold.

Yeah, it's not hard to find a good deal. I've been on Xbox live for 6 years, and I've never paid more than $40 for it.

I also think is has great value, ESPECIALLY with the games with Gold program. 2 free games per month for the 360? That's basically 24 free games in a year, plus they've confirmed that the games with gold is coming to Xbox One. Gold is, and is becoming even more so of a great deal.

About time because it was total BS im already paying for both what does it have to do with gold nothing Microsoft I can use everything I pay for monthly on my Ps3 no matter what I hope Crunchyroll is added to the list also

Yeah, if you're a gamer. If M$ wants to push the Xbox One as an all-in-one box then they need to ditch the Gold requirement for Netflix and Hulu Plus. And I feel referring to Microsoft as 'M$' is justified in this case.

This is why they're doing IMO.  They got away with it on the 360 since all the media apps came to the 360 long before PS3 caught up.  I don't know why they didn't do this starting with the X1 though.  It's not justifiable anymore, and the competition doesn't have the same requirement.  This should have been in effect starting last November.

Except I don't play online games and Microsoft has created a system by which I opt to turn on my ps3 or any other device before my 360 because of incredibly stupid, arbitrary paywalls.
They should want people to use their console, and if someone owns an xbox but doesn't want to pay for online gaming, they're certainly not going to pay twice for Netflix, so this paywall is exceedingly retarded. It can't be generating any extra profit, but it certainly generates bad press and may actually be losing them money.

Except that now Microsoft wants to push the XB1 to non-gamers, for media.   They're trying to compete with the Apple TV, Roku and Google in the living room.

And charging for a $60 paywall, aside from normal Netflix and Hulu+ subcriptions, is a no go.   For a hypothetical non gamer, buying an Xbox for streaming media, there's no value add for XBLive Gold.

Good, they should. I have Gold, but people who don't shouldn't have to pay just to use services they're already paying for.

Agreed. If M$ wants to own the living room they can't use a paywall to block/limit access to the programs people already subscribe too. It's embarrassing they held on this long.

Gold member should get free videos like Amazon prime members, we dont get jack for gold membership when it comes to videos.

Whever pays $59.99 a year for XBG isn't trying hard enough. Every year I pay around $25 to $30 because Amazon or even Microsoft is running a special. The trick is 3 months or so before your subscription is up for renewal, start looking for deals. Find one and buy it and it will tack on to the end of your current subscription. If you wait until your subscription expires then you are pretty much screwed. This is why you need to start looking before it is up. Happy hunting.

As annoying is probably is to have these services behind a paywall, it could be a mistake to remove them now.

It will mean, possibly, less people paying for XBOX Live/Gold, whatever.

I believe this is one of the reasons Sony made PS+ mandatory for PSN. I mean, if you can buy two consoles and pay €50 for XBL on one and pay nothing extra on the other, you're more likely to buy both. 

However, if its going to cost you the same on both, you're more likely to choose one over the other; and more than likely the one with better value at that (PS+).

So by removing features it devalues Gold, and also means that people who paid for Gold largely to access Netflix, etc, aren't going to pay it anymore. But keeping it means those people will pay it anyway.

But then I suppose there is the argument people won't buy an XBOX at all as they have to pay for basic services like these.

Just realised that got very long winded haha

On the other hand, if people are trying to decide between an Xbox One or a Roku or Amazon Fire, which do not charge a monthly fee for the privilige of using their apps, then more people will buy the Xbox One.

I see your logic, but if someone is in the market for a streaming box are they going to pay €30-€100 for a Chromecast, Roku, etc, or €500 on an XBOX.

On the other hand if someone is looking for a media player and games console, then XBOX would be a logical choice; however, if theyre looking for the best all in one package, then XBL fees would hardly matter as the only other option is a PS4; which, in the US anyway, is second place in terms of a media player.

This is great (if it comes to fruition). I don't have gold at the moment as I don't want online gaming to take the focus off of my up coming exams, but I could still fit in a few films on NowTV and Netflix.

It looks like Microsoft is losing money on all fronts while the truth us completely different, they hook us on all sides and as far as I am concerned applauds to them

Funny, I got a research survey about Xbox Live Gold reecently from microsoft, and I voiced my opinion that they are killing potential sales putting the gold paywall for the services that don't require an extra cost on other platforms (even their own...windows phone, windows have netflix apps that don't require a microsoft membership).

You know, I do think this is gonna happen. I was just invited to complete a survey on my Gold usage and it was asking me questions about what I'd pay for and what I wouldn't. Obviously they are gauging market opinion before they make any changes?...

No, what would be better is if MS combined XBL + XBM and throw in XBV it an all inclusive Platinum membership for those that want to pay for it.  XBM is already free to a certain extent.  Making it free perminently would be a mistake from a business perspective.

Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services should have worked out a deal with Xbox Live and say "hey, if they have Gold, you're good to go, if you have Silver, you need to pay up." 

Bam Done Thank you.

Its cool if they keep MS/xbox services behind it, but for subscriptions you've already paid for.......there's no excuse. I will say I keep my xbl sub up a year at a time so its nothing to me, but for those on a tighter budget it makes a compelling case to ditch xbl or not

I may be alone in this but I would pay up to$100 a year for gold if they offered a package that included Xbox music and video subscriptions along with some free streaming movies/shows similar to Amazon prime.

Yes! Toss in Office 365, Skype Premium, extra OneDrive storage at that price and Microsoft could become king of the world again.

I agree with the people complaining about the current position of requiring gold for video services. However I was told a long time ago that there was a good reason for this. And that was that the streaming goes over the live network. Fine, but why not skip that and stream from the Netflix and Hulu servers like other players do. Maybe this is what they are going to do.

Paying for gold to watch Netflix and what not is exactly why I bought a chromecast....thank the lord I have an iPad to work with it haha ha ha.....when are we getting google apps aaarrrgghhh!

When Google grows up and behaves like an company run by adults then maybe we will get Google apps. But I wouldn't hold your breath, they still haven't kicked their kindergarten tantrums - especially evident when just mentioning "windows phone" kicks them off.

I hope they'll do the same for Xbox Music. I hate not being able to use my Xbox Music Pass on my Xbox.

I would prefer to see them bundle it. Make Gold free with Xbox Musica pass. Add music pass to office365 and get 5 users of Gold and music.

Good, hopefully they are smart enough to ditch it for Xbox music as well. I refuse to pay for a second subscription to listen to music, I do not game online.

Actually that's not true. We bought our son the XB1 for Xmas. Very disappointed with the little you can do without XBLG, especially Netflix and so we ended up coughing up.
Skype and Xbox music are other services that should not require XBLG. Skype should be free cross platform, and you are already paying a big premium for Kinect. Xbox music requires it's own subscription so you shouldn't have to pay twice. Also, this needs fixing so I don't need to pay a subscription to listen to my own collection on USB or NAS.
At present there are no Games for Gold on XB1, so the whole Xbox subscription model feels like a huge rip off at present.
My son is now enjoying Plants v Zombies multiplayer so I guess there is finally some value there but XBLG should be made optional and the value tied to games and games services.
Right now I honestly couldn't recommend XB1 to my friends due to these rip offs on Gold and Music. I never had this on PS3 so I wonder if this is another reason PS4 is winning on sales.
It is good to see MS delayering the subscription but this needs extending to Skype and Music.
My guess is that MS have their cheaper, non-games Set Top Box coming at E3 hence this move.

Absolutely false. I bought my parents an Xbox so my mom can do Zumba (doesn't require Xbox Live) and watch Netflix (for some reason, does require Xbox Live Gold). I did it because I could easily add her to my family account. Now I'm stuck paying for an extra Xbox Live Gold account, because they did away with the family account.

MS should put XBOX Music in that category as well. If I'm paying for music subscription and I'm not a heavy or online gamer, then I shouldn't have to pay twice.

I've been on XBL since Day 1. I have never looked at it as a pay wall. I always looked at it as paying $5 a month for online play. Although, I didn't like it when it went from $50 to $60.

I really hope this happens!! I love gold as I'm also a gamer but I know quite a few people who just want to stream movies and on occasion maybe play a game. I've had to unfortunately refer two people to a ps4 and one person to a roku box cause of the pay wall.

Yes, please for the love of all things. Please. Heck even my uncle was like. "Wait, I have to get an Xbox Live subscription on top of the Netflix subscription to use Netflix? Nope!" So he just said I'll just use my PS3 (he has both).

I'm ok with this. I don't much care for Netflix these days anyway. New content providers would be better. And Netflix and Hulu for everyone could bring potential sideliners into the game which is a boon for the platform anyway.

This is something that should have been from the jump. The fact that they give you two free games a month is a bonus, but why should someone need a Gild account to stream content. As much as I like Xbox Gold that never made much sense.

One of the reasons that my friend got a PS4 was because these features weren't behind the PS Plus pay wall. MS should have done this at the launch of the Xbone. I am glad that they didn't destroy the console by making it always online though.

This will help a number of people, including myself, who have a Xbox One, but cant access Netflix as the Xbox One hasnt been launched in my country yet (and as such can't buy Xbox Gold).

Either way, it's stupid having to pay for it in the first place. Especially as it's another downside compared to the PS4