After 16 years of paying to play any type of multiplayer games online, Microsoft has officially ended the Xbox Live Gold requirement to play free-to-play titles on their systems. This means that anyone who wants to play a free-to-play game on any of the Xbox home consoles will now be able to do so without paying a premium to do so. Microsoft initially tested this out in their Xbox Insiders beta program, and since it’s now being officially implemented, the company more than likely received positive feedback on this decision.
— Nibel (@Nibellion) April 21, 2021
According to Microsoft, there are more than 50 free-to-play games available on both the Xbox family systems and PC through Windows. As you can imagine, the list is fairly expansive but there are some notable highlights. This includes Crackdown, Crackdown 2, DC Universe Online, Fortnite, Killer Instinct, Path of Exile, and Warframe. Microsoft did note that Battle Ages, Battle Islands, and Gems of War were removed from this list due to all three titles no longer supporting online multiplayer. However, the company did add that they are all still free-to-play regardless.
For those who have been on the fence about trying out these games on either a PC or an Xbox system, this is easily the greatest time to do so. If you’re confused about which title is considered free-to-play, you can either refer to the list in the link above or check out any title in the Microsoft Store. If the game is free-to-play, it will indicate so in the respective listing, and once again, it will require no payment of any kind to download it.
While this is an amazing moment for Xbox owners, there are still a few exceptions to this new policy. For instance, the free-to-play weekend promotions for other titles will still require you to either have an Xbox Live Gold subscription or have access to the Xbox Game Pass. Another example is demos, in which you’ll usually need to either pre-order or purchase the game in order to be given access. This also includes Early Access titles, which are paid games that are being developed concurrently while the players progress until a new update is added or the game is completed.