Microsoft starts testing free multiplayer for free-to-play games

The update also makes party chat free for non-Gold subscribers.

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Xbox Series S
Xbox Series S Jessica Conditt / Engadget

Back at the start of the year, Microsoft said it would make it so that an Xbox Live Gold membership wouldn't be required to play free-to-play games like Fortnite and Apex Legends online. The company has now started testing a dashboard update that enables that policy change. Moreover, in a surprise addition, it also makes party chat available to non-Gold subscribers.

Microsoft's decision to remove the payment requirement for freemium multiplayer games came when it reversed course on a planned Xbox Live Gold price hike in late January. Once the policy change is put in place for everyone sometime later this year, it will put Microsoft in line with both Sony and Nintendo, neither of which require you to subscribe to their premium multiplayer services if you want to play free-to-play games online. Today's update also includes the Xbox Network change spotted in recent days. Xbox Insiders in the Alpha and Alpha Skip Ahead rings can download the new software.

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