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Xbox Live Gold no longer needed for free-to-play games on Xbox One, Series X|S

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

What you need to know

  • Xbox Live Gold is no longer required for free-to-play games on Xbox consoles.
  • This move brings the Xbox platform in line with Windows 10 PCs.
  • Microsoft first announced the change in January and has tested it out leading up to its general availability.

Microsoft just took a huge step to make games on Xbox consoles more accessible. People no longer need Xbox Live Gold for free-to-play games on Xbox consoles, including the Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S. You also won't need an Xbox Live Gold subscription for free-to-play games on older hardware like the Xbox One S and original Xbox One.

Alongside dropping the requirement to have Xbox Live Gold to play free-to-play games, Microsoft also removed the requirement to have Xbox Live Gold to look for Groups and Party Chats.

This move has been known about for some time, but we were waiting to find out the exact moment it dropped. Microsoft first announced that Xbox Live Gold wouldn't be required for free-to-play multiplayer games back in January. The company then tested the feature out on its Alpha, Alpha Insider, Beta, and Omega rings for Xbox Insiders.

Many of the best Xbox games are free-to-play, including Call of Duty: Warzone, Rocket League, and Fortnite. Now, gamers can jump onto these titles and play online without having to pay for a monthly Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Xbox Live Gold isn't tremendously expensive, but it adds up over time. If a player only plays free-to-play games, they can save hundreds of dollars over a few years. Additionally, there seems to be a new streaming service each month, so having some extra cash around could help pay for something like Xbox Games Pass or Disney Plus.

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