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News video games 25 March 2021, 16:10

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Changes to Xbox Network - Free-to-play Will be Truly Free

Testing is underway for the next update to the Xbox Network platform, and with it comes a major change. Microsoft will finally let us play free multiplayer games without an active Xbox Live Gold subscription.

The rebranding of Xbox Live to Xbox Network may be just a mere formality, but there are more interesting changes waiting for its users. With the new update, those testing alpha versions of the Xbox platform as part of the Xbox Insider program can now play online F2P games even without an active Xbox Live Gold subscription. The same goes for team chat and the group search feature.

This change will come just in time, so to speak. Xbox is the only platform that requires a paid subscription to play online, even free-to-play games like Fortnite Battle Royale and Call of Duty: Warzone. Much earlier (as of 2014), an Xbox Live Gold subscription was also required to use over 180 apps, including Netflix and Hulu.

Microsoft also mentioned glitches reported by users. These are expected to be fixed at a later date, although some of them have already been fixed. There's still an issue with not being able to activate HDR on some consoles (for now, a complete shutdown and reboot is recommended). We don't yet know when we can expect these changes to roll out to all users. Microsoft has also indicated that some titles do not support free multiplayer as part of the update testing, including CoD: Warzone and Destiny 2.

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