Party Chat, Looking 4 Groups and Free-To-Play will now be available to all Xbox Live users, not just those on Xbox Live Gold tiers. The biggest change is that all free-to-play games would actually be free on Xbox. This has been a major hurdle for the growth of certain games on the platform. It would seem that the console maker has pulled their head out of the sand and joined the 21st century in not charging for basic features.
The news was revealed by Xbox Preview Program developer Brad Rossetti on Twitter. “Multiplayer in Free-to-play games, Looking 4 Groups and Party Chat on Xbox no longer requires an Xbox Live Gold membership,” Rossetti said. The changes are being debuted to Xbox Insiders in the Alpha Skip Ahead and Alpha programs at the moment “ahead of general availability.”
This news comes a short time after Microsoft tried to push up Xbox Live Gold prices to a much more expensive tier. The change would have effectively doubled the cost of a Gold sub for everyone, and people were not happy. After the backlash, Micorosft backtracked almost immediately. It’s clear the Microsoft is looking to attract more budget-oriented gamers over time.
Various free-to-play titles like Path of Exile, Warframe and Apex Legends will now be actually free on Xbox. This should help add more players to the console fanbases for these games. The added cost of Xbox Live was just not worth paying when you could play on other platforms like PS4 and PC. This move is joined by the previous improvements to services like Game PAss, which are a much better deal than buying games outright.