This past weekend, Microsoft had a mini melodrama on its hands when it unceremoniously announced that it would be hiking up the price of its Xbox Live Gold subscription in an effort to herd customers towards its new Xbox Game Pass service.
The move backfired spectacularly, but to its credit, Xbox pivoted almost immediately, reverting the increase and apologising to the community for missing the mark. In an effort to quell tempers, the gaming giant dropped a nugget for Xbox players it had presumably been saving, but pulled the trigger on to claw back as much goodwill as possible: free-to-play games will no longer require an Xbox Live Gold monthly membership to enjoy. They will actually be free to play.
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Microsoft announced the price increase at the end of last week, and after fast and furious backlash, quickly walked it back in a blog post update (opens in new tab), admitting it "failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day."
It added that it's using the opportunity to "bring Xbox Live more in line" with how it sees "the player at the center of their experience" which translates to no more monthly subscription costs to play games that are free-to-play.
The list of free-to-play Xbox titles (opens in new tab) is pretty extensive, so for those of you who have an Xbox Series X, Xbox One, or Xbox 360, you'll get access to a sizeable library of titles that you can check out below in this handy graphic that was shared on Twitter (opens in new tab):
There are a few clarifications needed on that list, and a couple of additional titles, so we've popped them below:
- Resident Evil 2 is actually Resident Evil Revelations 2 (Episode One)
- The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is just the first episode
- The Walking Dead: Season Two is also free-to-play along with:
- World or Warships: Legends – Jump-Start 2
- World of Warships: Legends – Building a Navy
It's a welcome move for those Xbox players who don't have an Xbox Live Gold membership, or an Xbox Game Pass subscription, and there are some decent games on that list to be cracking on with.
As Microsoft has confirmed, the price isn't going to go up anytime soon, so Xbox Live Gold remains the cheapest option for now, but the Xbox Game Pass service is great value if you don't want to be spending £60 a pop on a brand new game; you get access to a massive pool of games, old and new, spanning four console generations.
But we're glad to see Xbox taking the bold step of making free-to-play games playable for free, as they should be.
If you're still holding out hope for a new Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, be sure to bookmark T3's Xbox Series X stock tracker for updates on when to expect more inventory drops. We even have a best gaming TV roundup for you if you want to upgrade your entire entertainment centre.