Xbox testing service changes that will remove Live Gold requirement for free-to-play games

Microsoft is currently testing the previously promised service changes that will remove the requirement to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play free-to-play multiplayer games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone.

The announcement came from Brad Rossetti, who works on the Xbox Preview Program. The new “feature” is currently available to Alpha Skip Ahead and Alpha Xbox Insiders.

According to Rossetti, Xbox is also testing the functionality of Looking 4 Groups and Party Chat no longer requiring Gold. There’s no word yet on when these changes will rollout to the non-Insider audience, but we probably don’t have long to wait.

It seems like Microsoft is working on phasing out, or at least changing the perception of, Xbox Live Gold. The company recently tried to introduce a price hike to Gold subscriptions, likely as a way to persuade users to transition to Game Pass Ultimate, but it quickly backtracked on that after the idea was roundly rejected by longtime subscribers.

More recently, Xbox Live branding has disappeared from certain UI elements on the Xbox dashboard and was replaced with “Xbox network.” Microsoft stated that this change will not affect the way its services are used, meaning a subscription will still be required for most multiplayer games, but “Live” will no longer refer to just “doing internet things” through the Xbox platform.

Another new feature that Xbox Insiders are currently testing is one that will allow Xbox One and Series X/S players to suspend games they’re currently playing so as not to bottleneck their download speeds.

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