Omega update makes genuine free-to-play Xbox games a reality

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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  • Microsoft confirmed Xbox Live Gold membership would no longer be required to play free-to-play games on Xbox in early 2021.
  • The Omega update is removing the Xbox Live Gold membership requirement for playing freemium games on the Xbox.
  • Now Xbox Omega Insiders can play freemium games like Fortnite and Apex Legends without an Xbox Live Gold membership.
  • Xbox Omega users no longer need Xbox Live Gold membership to utilize Party Chat and Looking 4 Groups.

Xbox high packet loss

Microsoft has released a new update for XBox Omega Insiders that has changed the Xbox Live Gold membership requirement for premium games.

For the first time, Xbox Omega users can now play free-to-play games without an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Microsoft’s original announcements

In January 2021, the big M announced a price increase for Xbox Live Gold membership.

That announcement was not a welcome one for Xbox fanatics. A fierce backlash from players convinced Microsoft to abandon the price changes.

The Xbox Live Gold team said this:

We messed up today, and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming, and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.

However, that was not the only good news. Microsoft also announced it will ditch the Xbox Live Gold membership requirement to play ‘freemium’ games on the Xbox.

That means freemium titles will become genuine free-to-play games on the Xbox like they are for Windows.

The Omega Xbox Update Preview

Now the big M has taken the first step for making genuine free-to-play games a realty on the Xbox with the April Omega update. That Xbox Update Preview enables players in the Omega ring who aren’t Xbox Live Gold members to play freemium games.

Microsoft announced the changes as follows:

We have exciting news… Multiplayer in Free-to-play games, Looking 4 Groups and Party Chat on Xbox no longer requires an Xbox Live Gold membership for Omega users as we flight and test these service changes ahead of general availability.

Therefore, all Xbox players will soon be able to play free-to-play games without stumping up for Xbox Live Gold first.

Freemium games like Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Apex Legends are among the best multiplayer shooters that will become genuinely freely available on the Xbox.

Fortnite game

Xbox fanatics the world over are no doubt rejoicing that they will soon be able to play free-to-play games without subscribing to Xbox Live Gold and that there will be no price hikes for it.

Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold changes ultimately highlight that the big M really does listen to customers.

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