Xbox Testing Subscription-Free Multiplayer for F2P Games

03/24/2021 - 14:53 | By: Robert N. Adams
Subscription-Free Social Features Coming Soon

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that free-to-play multiplayer would no longer require an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Now it's making good on that promise with a first wave of testing.

Back in January, Microsoft made the rather unwelcome announcement that it was going to be raising the price of its multiplayer subscription. Fans were understandably upset and that led Microsoft to make a surprising move: it reversed course and promised to make some of these subscription features free in the coming months. Those of you who have joined the Insider program now have the ability to test this promise in practice.

Xbox Free-To-Play Multiplayer slice

How is Xbox Free-To-Play Multiplayer Changing?

Xbox consoles have always required an Xbox Live Gold membership to play online, even if the game itself was a free-to-play title. In comparison, the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo switch had no such requirement.

 
 

The backlash to the attempted price hike for its subscription service, however, had led Microsoft to promise a change in how it handled multiplayer.

"For free-to-play games, you will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox. We are working hard to deliver this change as soon as possible in the coming months," read an update to January's announcement.

Don't get too excited, though — you won't be able to enjoy free-to-play multiplayer without an Xbox Live Gold subscription just yet — that is, unless you're a part of the Insider program. A new tweet notes that the following features currently paywalled behind a subscription are being tested:

  • Multiplayer in free-to-play games
  • Party Chat
  • Looking For Group

It's unclear exactly how long the testing period will be. Hopefully, we'll be able to enjoy multiplayer in free-to-play games on Microsoft's flagship gaming console sooner rather than later. If you'd like to participate in tests similar to this one, you can sign up for the Insider program right now via your console or Windows 10 device.

What do you think of the upcoming changes to free-to-play multiplayer on Xbox consoles? Do you think this change should have happened earlier? Let us know in the comments below!


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A photograph of Robert N Adams
Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!