Microsoft announced earlier this year that it would stop requiring its paid online play subscription service Xbox Live Gold for free-to-play games, and the console maker is slowly making progress toward that promise.
Now, the Xbox Live Gold requirement has been removed from free-to-play games for those enrolled in the Omega tier of the Xbox Insiders public testing program, essentially meaning all Insiders can play online free-to-play games on Xbox consoles like the Xbox One or Xbox Series X without an active Xbox Live Gold membership.
Prior to the change, online play in both free and paid games was restricted to only accounts with an active Xbox Live Gold subscription.
The same is also true for previously Gold-restricted features like Looking 4 Groups and Party Chat, which have also been made available to non-Gold subscribers in the Insiders program.
Going off of the announcement earlier this year, these changes should eventually expand to all Xbox users in the future, but Microsoft has yet to nail down an exact timeline for the full rollout. It is, of course, one of multiple changes to Xbox Live Microsoft has discussed this year, including a planned pricing shift that was very quickly abandoned after negative player feedback.
Outside of that failed revamp, the company has also rebranded the online space known as Xbox Live since the days of the original Xbox to the simpler "Xbox network," aiming to draw a clearer line between the network and the paid online membership.