Skip to main content

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 (opens in new tab) 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 is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at

  • Big blow to Playstation, who will have to follow suit or just keep looking worse and worse from the rearview mirror.
  • Hem, the cosmetics, i buy on EBay ?
    On Amazon ? Great.