Microsoft has made playing console games with friends online easier, announcing that free-to-play games will no longer require a paid Xbox Live Gold subscription to access online multiplayer, starting today.
Under Microsoft’s previous arrangement, any game featuring online multiplayer required an active Xbox Live Gold membership, starting at AU$10.95 per month. This included popular free-to-play games such as Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, and Apex Legends.
Now, these games, plus any other free titles, are available to play unrestricted without an active subscription.
Paid games, whether they be purchased at a brick-and-mortar store or digitally, still require an active Xbox Live Gold subscription to access online multiplayer features. For example, 2020’s Call of Duty: Cold War requires Xbox Live Gold as it is a paid game, while Call of Duty spin-off Warzone does not, as it is free to download and begin playing.
A full list of more than 50 free-to-play games is on the official Xbox website, which can be filtered to highlight those featuring online multiplayer gameplay.
This change brings Xbox’s online multiplayer service in line with Sony’s PlayStation consoles which do not require its equivalent paid service, PlayStation Plus (AU$11.95 monthly) to access online multiplayer components of free-to-play games.