Xbox begins testing unlocked multiplayer in free-to-play games

If you’ve always thought it’s weird that you still need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play free-to-play multiplayer games on Xbox consoles, we have some good news for you: Looks like that requirement will soon be gone. As promised earlier in the year, Microsoft began testing functionality that will allow Xbox users to play multiplayer free-to-play games without requiring an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Unfortunately, this testing is limited to Xbox Insiders on Alpha Skip Ahead and Alpha episodes today, so it’s still very early testing and may not be widely available yet. However, it’s exciting to see this put to the test not only because it unlocks multiplayer for free games, but also because it unlocks 4-group search and party chat – features that are similarly placed behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall

Xbox’s Larry Herb and Brad Rossetti shared the news today on Twitter. Microsoft originally promised that it would open multiplayer games in free-to-play titles again in January, after reversing the Xbox Live Gold price hike decision.

The suggested price increase lasted less than a day, as Microsoft originally planned to increase the cost of its monthly Xbox Live Gold subscriptions by $ 1 (bringing the total monthly cost to $ 10.99) and the 3-month Gold subscriptions by $ 5 (to get it) up to $ 29.99 each. Three months). Microsoft met a backlash over this announcement, and later that same day it announced that it would keep pricing where it was while also unlocking free multiplayer gaming in the future.

Now, it looks like the time for that is finally upon us. Since these only beat Alpha testers into the Xbox Insider program, it will likely take weeks (if not longer) before it becomes available to everyone. We’ll let you know when Microsoft starts rolling out this feature more broadly, so stay tuned.

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