In a move that’s long overdue, Microsoft has finally made Xbox Live Gold no longer necessary for any free to play online titles. This was something initially announced back in January, but it was only recently that they finally made the change official.
Xbox Live Gold is the premium service required for owners of Xbox consoles to participate in online. The service has existed since 2002, pioneering what online services were meant to look like for consoles by offering functionality that didn’t exist for previous online consoles like the Sega Dreamcast or the PlayStation 2.
Though Sony would eventually adapt with the creation of PlayStation Network, it’s functionalities were always considered a step behind Xbox Live with one major exception: it was free to play online. And while that changed with the release of the PlayStation 4 (which requires PlayStation Plus), free to play titles were still free and didn’t require a subscription to their premium service. This was one area Sony remained ahead of Xbox in the world of online until now.
Currently, there are over fifty free to play games that will no longer require Xbox Live Gold, including Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Destiny 2, Fortnite, Phantasy Star Online 2, Path of Exile, Spellbreak, and many more, with a full list in the Xbox blog post.