Microsoft announced today that it will drop the Xbox Live Gold requirement for online group chat across Xbox consoles.
The ability to chat in groups has been a Xbox Live Gold feature since the Xbox 360 launched in late 2005.
In the Tweet sent out by Xbox Insider, Microsoft announced it was testing the feature with those signed up to the Insider program.
No further information has been provided on when Xbox users can expect the requirements removal, but we’d expect it can’t be too far away.
In the Tweet, Xbox Insider also mentioned that it was testing the removal of Xbox Live Gold requirements for free-to-play multiplayer titles. The requirement of Gold when playing free-to-play titles has been criticised for some time, so it seems Microsoft is finally listening to fan feedback.
The Looking For Group feature will also no longer require Gold, meaning all Xbox users can use the feature now. This makes finding people to play with in free-to-play games a lot easier for those who don’t have Xbox Live Gold Subscriptions.
Microsoft and Sony both charge players a monthly subscription fee for the ability to play video games online. While each one has added additional incentives to the fee, many still criticise the charge. If you compare the concept to PC, there are no current PC platforms which charge players for online play.
This update arrives only a few days after Microsoft confirmed it would be dropping the Xbox Live brand. Moving forward, Microsoft will refer to the service by Xbox network.
A spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed the name change: “The update from ‘Xbox Live’ to ‘Xbox network’ is intended to distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships.”
The statement came after months of speculation, and leaks of the supposed name change.
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