Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners will no longer need to maintain a paid Xbox subscription to watch movies on Netflix, TV with Hulu Plus, and popular shows through HBO Go.
Ars Technica also reported that other services would be placed behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall to compensate for the free entertainment apps, but it’s not clear exactly which those will be.
The change is being linked directly to the departure of former Xbox chief Don Mattrick, who left Microsoft last year after a confusing Xbox One launch following controversy over initial plans to make the new console require an internet connection.
The Xbox subscription changes closely follow similar alterations to Skype’s Premium service.
Microsoft recently made Skype group video calling free, unbundling it from an $8.99 monthly subscription charge.
Update May 13th, AM: On May 13th, Microsoft confirmed that users would be able to stream entertainment apps without paying for apps starting in June.
Have you ever let your Xbox Live Gold membership expire? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.
Microsoft has always locked Xbox owners into its Xbox Live Gold subscription service to access streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, but that's finally changed.
Alongside its announcement of a 9 Kinect-less Xbox One, the company has revealed that Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and all other entertainment apps will be lose their Gold requirement starting in June.
The change in strategy was first reported by Ars Technica on Monday evening.
Xbox Live Gold is a popular subscription service available on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One videogame consoles.
Pricing varies by region but generally average around US per month depending on the plan chosen.
Originally, an Xbox Live Gold membership was required to enjoy almost all online services on the Xbox 360 (such as playing online and watching online video on its numerous apps) but soon after the arrival of the newer Xbox One console the plan evolved slightly and now media streaming is available to free members (often referred to as Xbox Live Silver members) as well.
The evolution of Xbox Live Gold hasn’t really affected continuing members all that much but for those who may be considering taking a break from the service due to travel plans or a need to save money, many wonder how exactly their console will be affected and what they will lose once their Xbox Live Gold membership is cancelled. Cancelling an Xbox Live Gold membership really isn’t as dramatic as it used to be for Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners despite the loss in certain online features and monthly free games.