Members of the Xbox Insiders program are trialing a new feature that will allow Xbox users to play online multiplayer games without an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
Back in January – after Xbox reversed the decision to increase the price of Xbox Live Gold due to widespread backlash – Phil Spencer promised that the company would also make free-to-play multiplayer games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone available for users without an Xbox Live Gold subscription. It looks like Xbox is now taking steps to fulfill that promise and are now trialing the feature.
But before you go and cancel your Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, be aware that this feature is currently only available for members of the Xbox Insider program. This is likely just to test the feature for bugs and kinks before it goes out to the general public. If you really can’t wait, you can sign up for the Xbox Insider program completely free of charge, although you will be regularly testing unreleased features.
Now that Xbox is removing even more of a reason to actually be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber, it’s puzzling as to why the service still exists at all. Xbox’s similarly priced Game Pass Ultimate subscription allows people to play online with the added benefit of giving subscribers access to the ever-growing library of games included on Game Pass.
The only reason to stay subscribed to Xbox Live Gold is the monthly free games, and even those have been decreasing in quality in recent months. March’s batch of free games sparked a lot of frustration from Gold subscribers, with many unsatisfied with the value of the free games Xbox offered.
Even former Xbox VP Mike Ybarra thinks that Xbox Live Gold should take a hike in favor of the vastly superior Game Pass Ultimate subscription. As soon as Xbox allows users to play free multiplayer games without Xbox Live Gold, subscription numbers are likely to drop significantly. Unless Xbox has some dramatic, unannounced plans for Xbox Live Gold, it’s likely going to be either replaced or completely eradicated as time goes by.
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Joshua Robertson is a News Writer for TheGamer, based in Barnsley, England. When not playing or writing about Pokemon, Yakuza, or Fallout, he can usually be found spending too much time on Twitter @JoshRobertson97.
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