Microsoft makes the multiplayer modes of Free2Play games playable without a subscription to Xbox Live Gold. The change announced in January has now arrived in Xbox’s Insider Program. Participating users can now play games such as “Fortnite” and “Apex Legends” online on their Xbox without having to pay for an Xbox Live Gold membership.
The chat application Xbox Party Chat will also be offered for the first time at no additional cost. This is a surprise: when Microsoft originally announced the change in strategy, this change was not in prospect. In order to be able to play for free right now, you have to be in the Alpha Skip Ahead or Alpha channels. In addition, not all Free2Play games work yet because, according to Microsoft, they must first be converted individually.
Microsoft is drawing level with Sony and Nintendo, on whose consoles you can use Free2Play titles even without a subscription to the respective online services of the console operator. In order to be able to use the multiplayer modes of paid games, you have to pay a subscription with all three manufacturers. Xbox Live Gold costs 7 euros per month in Germany or 40 euros per half-year. The Sony version Playstation Plus costs 9 euros a month or 60 euros a year, Nintendo’s Switch Online is the cheapest at 4 euros a month or 20 euros a year.
Appeasing the community
In January, Microsoft announced the change in strategy to unlock the multiplayer modes of Free2Play titles even without a subscription under remarkable circumstances: an increase in subscription fees for Xbox Live Gold that was planned at the time brought the company so much criticism that it withdrew this plan – and to appease it the user community promised to remove the Xbox Live obligation for Free2Play games.
This change should be implemented as soon as possible, Microsoft promised in January. It is unclear when the system will be converted for all Xbox users. The inclusion in the insider program suggests, however, that it should not be long.