For years, whenever we’ve talked about free-to-play games on consoles, we’ve said that it’s fully free on PlayStation (and, more recently, Switch) but to play on an Xbox, you’ll need an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Soon, we won’t need to include that disclaimer.
Microsoft had plans to increase the cost of the Xbox Live Gold subscription, by $1 for a one-month sub and $5 for a three-month sub. In an announcement posted late last night, the company backpedaled on that move, saying that it “failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day.” In the United States, the cost of a Gold subscription will remain at $9.99 for one month, $24.99 for three months, $39.99 for six months, and $59.99 for 12 months.
The bigger news, at least as far as this site is concerned, is that free-to-play games on Xbox consoles, from War Thunder to World of Tanks to Warframe, will no longer require that Gold subscription and will be totally free. The move came as Microsoft sought to “bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience.” The change won’t be immediate, but will be happen “as soon as possible in the coming months.”
It’s been nearly a decade since free-to-play games first made their way to the Xbox (and other consoles). All the way back in 2013, we wrote about Wargaming’s CEO being “not happy about” the subscription requirement, saying that he thought he could “add another 30-40 million non-golden members and they will monetize occasionally” for World of Tanks. That kind of growth might no longer be possible, but the change, whenever it comes, will undoubtedly be a boost to several F2P games on Xbox consoles.