Xbox players can finally play free-to-play games without Xbox Live subscriptions

Finally joining the likes of Nintendo and PlayStation, Xbox will no longer require subscriptions to play free-to-play games as of today.


When Xbox almost raised the price of Xbox Live Gold subscriptions in January 2021, it left a lot of people soured and vocal - enough to get Xbox to walk back the decision. Fortunately, the situation brought up some other benefits which are finally going into effect. Perhaps most importantly, that includes the access to play free-to-play multiplayer games like Fortnite and Apex Legends without need of Xbox Live Gold subscriptions to do it.

Xbox formally put removal of subscription requirements for free-to-play games into effect on the console family on April 21, 2021, as outlined in a new Xbox Wire post. From here on out, Fortnite, Brawlhalla, Destiny 2, Warframe, and many more games in a collection of around 50 titles will no longer need players to have an active Xbox Live Gold subscription in order to play online. Free-to-play on Xbox will truly mean free-to-play on Xbox. Of course, this comes as a direct result of the backlash from when Xbox tried to raise Live Gold subscription prices, and comes well after Nintendo and PlayStation offered the same thing, but it’s a good move nonetheless.

Free-to-play finally being free-to-play wasn’t the only thing Xbox offered as a part of its efforts to make good with players this season. Xbox Live Gold requirements were also being removed from features such as Party Chat so players could party up (such as in squads on Fortnite or Apex Legends) without need of a subscription. With the subscription requirement being removed from F2P, the follow-up of Party Chat doing the same makes sense in this regard.

Overall, it should continue to help improve the Xbox ecosystem, which already features fun and impressive options like the Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Even so, if you don’t have the money to go in on those programs, you can finally get down in some free-to-play gaming goodness in Xbox without online subscription fees to go with it.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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