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Effective April 21st, online multiplayer for free-to-play Xbox games no longer requires an Xbox Live Gold membership.
While Microsoft still has a long way to go if it wants to compete with PC gaming – wherein you can play most online games for free – it’s still a serious step forward. Up until now, Xbox Live Gold has made all free-to-play games just “sort of free.” While you could download them at no cost, you needed a Gold subscription to actually play, which typically costs $9.99 for one month, $24.99 for three months or $59.99 for a year.
Now that Xbox Live Gold is out of the equation, you can theoretically save a few bucks a year by opting out of the subscription and just sticking with free-to-play games.
The Simplest Free-to-Play Model Yet
This deal is a smart move for Microsoft. While both Playstation and Switch have a handful of free multiplayer games that don’t require subscriptions, it’s on a completely case-by-case basis. Xbox’s deal covers all of its free, multiplayer supported titles, and the platform’s library of games with free-to-play multiplayer will only continue to grow as more titles are added in the future.
With over 50 free games that support online multiplayer, Xbox is offering up a variety of titles at no additional cost, ranging from fast-paced shooters to laid-back puzzle games. While there is certainly some filler included among the bigger titles (Doritos Crash Course, anyone?), the inclusion of popular games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Rocket League, Roblox and Destiny 2 will surely turn heads.
Xbox is also granting access to its Looking for Group and party chat features for all free-to-play games at no additional cost. This means players can easily group up and communicate with friends without having to pay for a Gold subscription. These features can be used directly on an Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One, but you’ll need the Xbox mobile app if you’re playing on an Xbox 360.
Is Xbox the Best Free-to-Play Console Now?
Though Xbox has a significantly larger library of titles available for free online play than Sony or Nintendo, many of the platform’s biggest free games are also still available on Playstation or Switch. These include Fortnite, Warzone, Warframe, Apex Legends and Rocket League, among others.
Knowing similar free-to-play options are also available on its competitors’ platforms, we can’t recommend Xbox’s deal as a major reason to buy a console from Microsoft over Sony or Nintendo. However, current Xbox players definitely have a reason to celebrate, particularly casual gamers who may only hop on Xbox Live to occasionally play Fortnite and Warzone with friends.
If you’re the type of player who seldom plays online multiplayer outside of Xbox’s big name, free-to-play titles, we’d definitely recommend giving this change some serious thought , and maybe even canceling your Gold subscription altogether.
Make sure to also set up a Deal Alert for Xbox Gold subscriptions in case you do want to get back into other multiplayer games.
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