Free-to-play games on Xbox no longer require Xbox Live Gold starting today

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Microsoft is finally making free-to-play games on Xbox consoles truly free. Starting today, Xbox gamers no longer need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play free-to-play games such as Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Destiny 2, Fortnite, or Rocket League.

This policy change has been a long time coming, especially since Sony doesn’t require players to pay for PlayStation Plus to play free-to-play games on PlayStation consoles. Overall, that’s over 50 free-to-play games that can now be played without an Xbox Live Gold membership starting today, and Microsoft will keep an updated list on xbox.com. You can find the full list below:

  • 3on3 FreeStyle
  • Aegis Wing
  • APB Reloaded
  • Apex Legends
  • Armored Warfare
  • Battle Ages
  • Battle Islands
  • Battle Islands: Commanders
  • Bless Unleashed
  • Brawlhalla
  • Call of Duty: Warzone
  • Crackdown
  • Crackdown 2
  • Crimson Alliance
  • Crossout
  • CRSED: F.O.A.D.
  • Darwin Project
  • Dauntless
  • DC Universe Online
  • Dead or Alive 5 Last Round: Core Fighters
  • Dead or Alive 6: Core Fighters
  • Defiance 2050
  • Destiny 2
  • Doritos Crash Course
  • Dungeon Defenders II
  • Enlisted
  • Eternal Card Game
  • Family Game Night
  • Fishing Planet
  • Fortnite
  • Galaxy Control: Arena
  • Gems of War
  • Happy Wars
  • Harm’s Way
  • Hawken
  • Hyper Scape
  • Killer Instinct
  • Korgan
  • Minion Masters
  • Neverwinter
  • Outriders (Demo)
  • Paladins
  • Path of Exile
  • Phantasy Star Online 2
  • Phantom Dust
  • Pinball FX2
  • Prominence Poker
  • Realm Royale
  • Rec Room
  • Resident Evil Revelations 2
  • ROBLOX
  • Rocket League
  • Rogue Company
  • Skyforge
  • SMITE
  • Spacelords
  • Spellbreak
  • Star Trek Online
  • Techwars Global Conflict
  • TERA
  • The Four Kings Casino and Slots
  • Too Human
  • Trove
  • Vigor
  • War Thunder
  • Warface
  • Warframe
  • World of Tanks
  • World of Warships: Legends
  • Yaris

In addition to online multiplayer, Microsoft has also dropped the Xbox Live Gold requirement for Party Chat and Looking for Group with the just-released April 2021 System update. In an online FAQ, the company also explained that Xbox Live Gold members who only used their subscription to play free-to-play games can take advantage of a one-time cancel option to receive a credit based on their remaining time.

Nothing is changing for Xbox Live Gold, and the subscription service will continue to provide access to weekly Deals with Gold, free Games with Gold every month, and regular Free Play Days weekends. Xbox Live Gold will also continue to be included for free with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the $14.99/month bundle that also includes Xbox Game Pass for Console, Xbox Game Pass for PC, and EA Play.

Microsoft took Xbox gamers by surprise earlier this year by announcing big price increases for Xbox Live Gold in various markets, but the bad buzz forced the company to quickly backtrack. The company announced at the same time that it was dropping the Xbox Live Gold requirement for free-to-play games, and the policy change has been in testing with Xbox Insiders for a couple of weeks now.

Overall, this change should really help to make the $299 Xbox Series S more attractive for gamers who only play free-to-play games like Fortnite. The Series S can play the popular battle royale game and many others at 120FPS, and it's definitely great value for parents looking for an affordable console for their kids.

Time will tell if Microsoft will one day drop the Xbox Live Gold paywall for all multiplayer games on Xbox consoles, and this could well happen when the number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers dwarfs Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Last we heard, Xbox Game Pass had 18 million subscribers in January and was gaining 1 million new subscribers every month since September.

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