Microsoft keeps its promise and offers Xbox players the opportunity to use the multiplayer mode of free-to-play titles for free regardless of Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Xbox Insider Program participants can already try the free option.
As can be seen from the release notes of the latest Xbox Insider firmware in the so-called “Alpha Skip-Ahead” channel, an Xbox Live Gold subscription is no longer one of the requirements to enter the online multiplayer of free games. Microsoft is also disconnecting the gold subscription from all “Looking 4 Groups” options and the party chat. Volunteer testers can try out the new implementations from now on. A release date for the majority of Xbox One and Xbox Series X owners have not yet been set.
Will the multiplayer pay locker be completely eliminated in the long run?
The innovations bring advantages especially for free-to-play games (F2P) such as Fortnite or Roblox, whose multiplayer modes previously required a chargeable Xbox Live Gold membership. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will also abandon the gold requirement for full-price titles in the long term. The voices are getting louder and louder, especially in view of the “Play Anywhere” strategy of the Redmond company. With the help of this, PC gamers will also have access to upcoming titles such as Halo Infinite. In contrast to the Xbox, however, no multiplayer fee is charged here.
A shit storm in January proved that an outcry in the community can even induce a large corporation like Microsoft to make changes. Unexpectedly, the prices for the Xbox Live Gold membership should be increased significantly from 6.99 euros per month to 10.99 euros. Players then vented their anger on social media, leading Microsoft to withdraw immediately. Although the subscription should entice two free games per month and a discount when buying full-price titles, the majority of Xbox owners only use them for the multiplayer option. And the community is less and less willing to pay for these.
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