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Is Microsoft about to drop Xbox Live's silly streaming paywall? [UPDATE: It's Happening!]

Jonathan Lester
Microsoft, Xbox 360, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox One

Is Microsoft about to drop Xbox Live's silly streaming paywall? [UPDATE: It's Happening!]

Oh Microsoft. We like the fact that your consoles support streaming media services, but when every other device from PS3s to Smart TVs offer this functionality as standard, we still can't quite understand why access is buried behind an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Especially since the likes of Netflix have their own subscriptions on top of that.

It's a bit silly and astonishingly cynical, to be frank, but things may be about to change.

UPDATE: Microsoft has confirmed the decision as part of a sweeping policy change.

According to a new report from Ars Technica, "multiple sources within Microsoft” confirm that the Xbox Live Gold requirement will soon be removed for streaming apps on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. With Don Mattrick now (thankfully) departed for Zynga, Phil Spencer and the new guard are apparently keen to relax the restriction, which could well be announced during Microsoft's E3 presentation on June 9th.

We suspect that the BBC might also be indirectly be responsible for the move, if true, since iPlayer is still resolutely absent on the Xbox One due to their unwillingness to make us pay extra for TV license-funded content.

Consider this a rumour for now, but one we'd love to see become reality. Followed by full DNLA and Windows Media Extender functionality on Xbox One, which is still shockingly absent from a device that claims to be "all in one."

Add a comment5 comments
Tsung  May. 13, 2014 at 16:11

One thing about this story annoys me, it's the statement that Netflix charges on top of Xbox Live. It makes it sound like Netflix should be free as people are already paying for Xbox Live.

Obviously Netflix is a service in it's own right (along with Spotify and others) you pay them and you can access their service from many difference devices (for no extra cost). Only Microsoft charges a premium to allow you to access a service you've already paid for.

(Hopefully this xbox live premium will be scrapped, then my Xbox might go back under the TV. Thou' to be honest, since I got a chromecast, I doubt it!).

JonLester  May. 13, 2014 at 16:26

Well you'll be pleased to know that Microsoft have pulled the trigger! It's happening - along with Kinect-less Xbox One.

phil16  May. 13, 2014 at 17:24

Its about time however for me its too little too late. I have bluray players, Chromecast and a youview box which do it all for free. Not going to change my habits now...

tapi  May. 13, 2014 at 18:12

One thing that nobody seems to have picked up amongst Microsoft's announcement is that along with this change to the streaming needing gold thing is that they're bringing Games with Gold to xbox one - but they're actually bringing 'PS+' to xbox one if you read carefully.

The Games with Gold service on xbox one will only allow you to play the 'bonus games' whilst you have a subscription. On the one hand this throws away the differentiator that you got to keep the games, on the other it probably shows that there's going to be more A class titles.

Last edited by tapi, May. 13, 2014 at 18:14
Late  May. 13, 2014 at 22:15

Games With Gold for June:

Xbox One:
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
Halo: Spartan Assault
(As with PS+ the game will only be available while you keep your subscription going.)

Xbox 360:
Dark Souls
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition
Charlie Murder
(Available to play even if your subscription lapses.)


They're also starting a "Deals With Gold" initiative, offering discounts of 50%-75% on select games. In June these will be Ryse Son Of Rome and Forza Motorsport 5.

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