Microsoft taking final steps to end Xbox Live Gold requirement for free-to-play games

Xbox Series S
Xbox Series S (Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Xbox Omega Insiders can now play free-to-play games without an Xbox Live subscription.
  • With a rollout to Xbox Omega Insiders, that means all Xbox Insiders can play free-to-play games without Xbox Live Gold.
  • It's possible that the requirement of having Xbox Live Gold for free-to-play games will end this month.

Microsoft is in the final stages of ending the requirement of having Xbox Live Gold to play free-to-play games on consoles like the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Last night, Microsoft started rolling out an update to Xbox Omega Insiders that removes the requirement for Xbox Live Gold.

We don't have a confirmed date for when the requirement will end for non-Insiders, but it could be as soon as this month. Microsoft is quickly working through the Insider rings when it comes to ending the requirement. A similar update rolled out to Xbox Beta Insiders on March 30, 2021. Alpha and Alpha Skip-Ahead Insiders got the update on March 24, 2021.

Here's Microsoft's description of the latest Omega Ring Insider update:

New Features and Experiences

We have exciting news! Omega users can expect something new coming to their Xbox Update Preview.

  • Multiplayer in Free-to-play games, Looking 4 Groups and Party Chat on Xbox no longer requires an Xbox Live Gold membership for Omega users as we flight and test these service changes ahead of general availability.


  • A subset of users can check out a new Subscription Management experience on the console. Check it out under Settings > Account > Subscriptions

Once the requirement ends for general users, people won't have to have Xbox Live Gold to play free-to-play games or to look for Groups and Party Chats.

Some of the best Xbox games are free-to-play games. Once people don't need Xbox Live Gold to play them, those excellent titles will become more accessible.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at