Microsoft is keeping the big updates for their Xbox brand rolling, with another major announcement sure to please disgruntled gamers. Now, for the first time, third-party services and apps on the Xbox 360 or Xbox One which require an internet connection will now no longer need an Xbox Live Gold account to be accessed.
The way things worked up until now was that if you wanted to, say, watch Netflix on your Xbox you would need to be an Xbox Live subscriber on top of a Netflix subscriber. Even though the app was free, you’d need to pay Microsoft for the mere privilege of streaming over your console. The same went for Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Twitch and every other service of that ilk.
Now though, you simply need the app and any relevant third-party subscription, and you can access your apps just like you would over your desktop – for free.
It’s a big change for Microsoft, and one which countless users have been clamouring for for the longest time. Xbox Live is marketed as a premium gaming service – why should the consumer have to pay twice over for something they already subscribe to? If you had no interest in multiplayer gaming but still wanted to be able to stream movies on your console, it was a major downside. It makes sense that the change should come now though. From day one the Xbox One has been touted as not just a next-generation gaming console, but also as an all-inclusive media centre. And whilst the gaming experience itself is rather limited without an Xbox Live account, at least now the consumer has the choice.
On top of streaming apps, services like Skype are also now available sans subscription. The same goes for Internet Explorer, Bing and OneDrive.