What you need to know
- Xbox Live Gold as a requirement for online play is going away for free-to-play games on Xbox.
- Microsoft is currently testing this change in all branches of the Xbox Insider program.
- There are a few exceptions, however, with games like Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: Warzone still requiring Xbox Live Gold.
- This should be fixed in a future update, but Microsoft hasn't provided a date or any kind of expectation for when.
In a historic change for Xbox Live, Microsoft's online network that has powered Xbox since the original, Xbox Live Gold is being dropped as a requirement to play free-to-play online games. As of today, Microsoft is now testing this Xbox Live Gold change in all Xbox Insider branches, indicating that this momentous shift is nearly ready for a public rollout. However, it seems that some free-to-play games still require Xbox Live Gold, and Microsoft has acknowledged the issue.
From the latest Xbox Insider changelog (opens in new tab):
- We are aware that some titles do not currently support the Free-to-Play multiplayer testing currently available in Preview. We are working with the studios as the titles require an update to support this service change
- Note: Titles currently not supported include Destiny 2 and Call Of Duty: Warzone. Please Report a problem with any other titles that are not working
It seems that in both of these cases, the games require input from the developer in order to support the new Xbox Live Gold policy. It should be noted that Destiny 2 used to be a premium paid game and still requires PlayStation Plus for matchmade activities on PS5 and PS4. Call of Duty: Warzone is also free-to-play, but was released as an add-on for the premium Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Both games are certainly a little messier than other free-to-play games.
Microsoft hasn't revealed when a fix is coming for the issue, but hopefully, all free-to-play games will be playable without Xbox Live Gold by the time the update rolls out to the general public. Neither game works in current tests, so these games may have to wait a little longer. Users in the Xbox Insider program should also keep an eye out for any other free-to-play games that still require Xbox Live Gold to play online.
This is the most significant Xbox Live Gold change since the network's debut, and would make it truly free to play free-to-play games on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One. Many of these games are some of the best Xbox games around.
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Zachary Boddy is the Minecraft Expert and a News Writer for Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been freelancing for Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019, with a focus on Xbox and PC gaming. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.
Zach, do you think this move will allow for SquareEnix to release Final Fantasy 14 on Xbox series X/S
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