Xbox Live Gold paywall removal for free-to-play games is being tested on Xbox Insider

Fortnite Battle Royale
Fortnite Battle Royale (Image credit: Epic Games )

What you need to know

  • Brad Rossetti of the Xbox Preview Program has announced that the removal of the Xbox Live Gold paywall on free-to-play multiplayer games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone is being tested in a new Xbox Insider flight. It's also being tested for Looking 4 Groups and Xbox Party Chat.
  • Specifically, the flight is being deployed to Xbox Insiders in the Alpha and Alpha Skip-Ahead rings.
  • The flight also includes various fixes to the Xbox UI and other services.

In a new Tweet accompanied by an official blog post (opens in new tab), Brad Rossetti of the Xbox Preview Program has announced that the removal of the Xbox Live Gold paywall on free-to-play multiplayer games like Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Apex Legends is being tested in a new Xbox Insider flight. It's also being tested for Looking 4 Groups and Xbox Party Chat. The flight is being deployed to Xbox Insiders in the Alpha and Alpha Skip-Ahead rings, so if that's you, make sure you check your Xbox Insider app on your console.

This news comes two months after Microsoft promised that it would remove the paywall "as soon as possible in the coming months." Considering this paywall is currently one of the worst things about the Xbox multiplayer experience, it's great to see the feature entering testing so soon. Hopefully there aren't too many bugs with it so Microsoft can make the change official sooner rather than later. This also bodes well for Halo Infinite, as we know that its multiplayer will be free-to-play.

Are you excited to be able to play free multiplayer games on console without having to pay a fee? Let us know. Also, make sure to check out Xbox Game Pass Ultimate if you're looking for a way to play paid Xbox games online with your friends in an affordable manner.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

8 Comments
  • "Considering this paywall is currently one of the worst things about the Xbox multiplayer experience" So, a paywall for games you don't pay for is bad, but its good for games you do pay for?
  • Bit of a strawman there. I stick to the PC ecosystem mainly, so I think paying for multiplayer at all sucks. That being said, I think charging people who play multiplayer in free games is worse than doing it for paid titles, as the user expectation about free gaming is that it'll be, you know, free.
  • Gotacha. Yeah, I kind of take it the other way, the platform holder is for sure getting money from a sale thru royalties but no money is guaranteed for a F2P. (thanks for the response)
  • Sure thing. Ultimately I want to see payment for multiplayer overall die as thing on console, not sure if it will actually happen tho.
  • It should be free for everyone. It's not like they aren't already getting some $$ from the game sales.
  • Does anyone know if Minecraft would work from this? Currently we only play Minecraft over the LAN for free local coop. I'm guessing to play Minecraft with friends off the LAN, it will still require Xbox Live Gold?
  • The fact that there's even a paywall to begin with and people actually pay for it is pathetic. To think many of these console children were crying when net neutrality laws were removed was hilarious.
  • I am hopeful for Final Fantasy 14 for Series X/ S